Assignment 4 – Appraisal of outcomes

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

The project I decided to do for these projects and assignments were a huge technical challenge (probably why the course notes say to avoid metal casting!). I think I have worked through these challenges well (although not without plenty of errors along the way). I think I always go for the most difficult option to learn more – I like the challenge!

Materials:

Resin – Worked quite well but very smelly and would be costly for anything big. Interesting to experiment with, but probably not something I’ll use again in a hurry.

Wax – Not crystal clear as described, except on the bottom (maybe it reacts with the rubber in some way). Worked well to fulfil my burning landscape idea.

Ice – Expansion meant that the base was not flat, although I guess it could have been melted flat if required. I fortunately cut and then glued the plaster mould back together, which then allowed the mould to be broken apart to get the ice out. It worked well for the images I was aiming for.

Bronze – This is a fantastic material to use and I do love the finish you can achieve with it. It is a very involved and time consuming process to cast yourself though. Some of this was learning the process, but a lot is the waiting time between coats / etc.

Wood – I’m using offcuts of what I have lying around at the moment. It would be nice to get hold of some old railway sleepers or something with more character for future work.

Stone – I was planning to use stone for some of the sculpture bases, but couldn’t find out where to get any from and ran out of time! Hopefully I’ll explore stone bases in future projects.

In terms of materials, I think I have used a very wide range of these in this stage.

Techniques:

Despite a few mistakes along the way, I don’t think I can be faulted in this section. In my figure piece especially, I constructed a five part rubber and plaster mould to transfer my super-sculpey shape into wax. Then the bronze casting process is very involved, both in the spueing and shelling process, then in the metalworking and finished after having poured the metal. I also had to design and construct tools to enable me to pick up and pour the bronze from the crucible.

However, in concentrating so much on the process driven steps required to mould and cast my objects, at times I felt I had moved away from the creative / conceptual work in carrying this out, although that could be just because I did this work so long ago now. I look forwards to embracing this again in the next stage.

Observational Skills:

These are probably most acutely shown in my figure sculpture as this was directly sculpted in a life drawing session, with the base fabricated to fit the figure in a more natural way than the arrangement of cushions/etc. used by the model in the session.

Design and Compositional Skills:

I am pleased with the way my residency sculptures are developing and feel this area has a very wide range of possibilities to explore. I think that modelling and adapting my design as I play with the materials is the most natural way of working for me.

Quality of Outcome

I am very pleased with the quality of my work in this assignment.

‘Esther’ – a great opportunity to sculpt from life which has resulted in a very attractive bronze sculpture. It does have a few small marks which could have been ground off before patinating.

‘Landscape 1-3’ – These realised my ideas well, the ice and wax versions providing the most interesting (although temporary) outcomes.

‘Landscape’ – My video editing abilities are limited to using Windows movie maker, but I think this worked quite well.

‘Monument to the last tree’ – This is perhaps the least successful sculpture with the patination too uniform and dark to express what I had in mind.

‘Residency under construction’ – This worked surprisingly well, although the background shelf is too busy and would probably work better with a plain rusted shelf. I may change this at some point.

Demonstration of Creativity

My sculptures may have suffered from the technical focus of the processes I was going through, and because each piece took so long to realise, I didn’t develop my ideas as far as I have in previous projects. I think I should focus my efforts on this development in the next stage (although learning yet another process in carving may get in the way of that! I can see why this has come out of the newly revised course notes for this course).

Context

These sculptures are not particularly inspired by other artists. ‘Esther’ came from a life drawing opportunity, ‘Landscape 1-3’ came from my fascination with all things to do with maps, ‘Monument to the last tree’ came from seeing a lightning struck tree and ‘Residency under construction’ is a development of my sculptures in stage 3.

Comments

Looking back, it is interesting to see that I have produced three sculptures in this section which make an environmental statement – maybe there is something I want to say with my work!

 

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