Project 1: Shallow geometric relief sculpture

Research

It was suggested to look at the works of:

  • Naum Gabo (1890-1977)

  • Antoine Pevsner (1884-1962)

  • Laslo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946)

  • Vladimir Tatlin (1885-1953)

  • Kasimir Malevich (1878-1953)

  • Ben Nicholson (1894-1982)

  • Victor Pasmore (1908-1998)

  • Pablo Picasso (1881 -1973)

I looked at work from all of these artists, making notes in my sketchbook which I don’t intend to repeat here.

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I think the first two artists were the most inspiring for me, although for their more 3D work than the shallow relief sculpture I will be producing in the first project. Ben Nicholson and Victor Pasmore seem to have produced the most relevant work for this project.

Adding a recent artist to the mix, I came across Ron van der Ende. Working in salvaged wood he creates very impressive 3D looking shallow relief’s. He constructs a bas-relief and then adds a 3mm thick veneer with whatever paint colour was on the found wood he salvaged. The results are very impressive.

Project 1

I made a couple of brief sketches before diving in and starting to cut wood and my initial decision was to include a large semi-circle, so I started out cutting that and some long rectangles.

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My baseboard was pretty much exactly the dimensions suggested by the course notes of 600x300mm (you can have too many choices!) and I decided on a vertical arrangement.

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Initial arrangements

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Added a smaller circle

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Moved the semi-circles apart and added a square

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Added holes (worked out positions using rolls of tape)

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Working on the square area

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Final arrangement of the square area and another hole added on the circle

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To the final arrangement. I left it laid out overnight and returned to it the following day. I was happy with most of it, but decided that the final adjustment would be to cut down the bottom right hand rectangle to be thinner.

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The final unpainted relief.

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The final painted relief.

The course notes ask “did you achieve the composition you intended?” – a difficult question to answer when the sculpture is produced as a process of experimentation with no real initial outcome in mind! I guess “no” as I had no fixed intention and “yes” as I achieved a composition I am pleased with using elements of my initial sketches.

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Tonal sketches of the relief hanging on the wall and lit from different sides.

Appraisal of outcomes

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

My choice of materials was based on the course notes brief and the pieces are well secured.

I could have used a greater range of shapes or developed the sculpture further, but in many ways have played it safe here.

Quality of outcome

In the main the composition of this piece works well. The square with rectangle however, doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the piece and could be improved by adding a cut circle to the square piece (added in Photoshop below):

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The finishing is all good, although the white (or cream actually) is a bit bland.

Demonstration of creativity

This piece was created through experimentation with different shapes and their arrangement on the baseboard, the final result arrived at through balancing the different elements.

Context

This sculpture was not intentionally influenced by my research, but was arrived at through experimentation.

I have followed the course notes too rigidly in this project and not thought outside of the box. This sculpture could have been much more exciting and adventurous.

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