My tutor left some very positive feedback about my submission for this assignment.
For ‘Bell Pit’ he suggested that the wooden blocks they sit on are too heavy and large against the subtlety of the bronze and suggested fixing them directly to the surface of a white plinth or shelf. Looking at these again this seems obvious – I think I need to revisit my sculptures after some time has passed to make an assessment on how successful they are and what can be improved.
He suggested that ‘The flick 2’ could be expanded into a series of casts of my hand, but I would need to reflect more on what the sculptures are about. I could see how this would work and I may return to this idea at a later point.
He suggested experimenting with hot wax on the gaps or the positive form in order to deepen the relief and seal the gaps. It took me a while to get my head around what he was saying here, but now I have it sounds like a good way of working, the smooth sections between the branches are not ideal, despite roughening up the surface of the clay before casting, this would increase the 3D effect of the branches and increase the contrast by providing dark shadows.
‘Esther’ – he commented that it is a good idea to work from life and not the drawings – I tried modelling from sketches in my initial attempt, but for this sculpture it was actually modelled from life, with a few quick sketches of certain areas to remind myself of sections of the form whilst finishing off. He commented that the figure fells too unformed in its arms and waist. These are fair comments, but I think more down to this being an early attempt to model the figure and that despite being modelled from life, I was restricted to mostly doing it from one angle of view.
On my landscape series, he would like to see more writing about my ideas for a sculpture and research that relates to the ideas or inspiration for the work. I produced artist statements for each print for my printing course assessment and I will do the same now for my sculptures.
He felt the steel grid base was overly complicated in relation to the form it holds and that I could consider just using the four spikes to really heighten the tension in the work. I can see how this would work if viewed from level with the piece or even below it, but I think it would get lost if viewed from above which is the more likely viewing position. A local gallery owner thinks that this sculpture could be developed into sellable pieces, so I may have a go at trying this suggestion out in the future.
As expected, he picked up on this as an area which needs work, saying that I need to be more rigorous with my drawings. I do find this hard as I am reasonably happy with my drawing of existing objects, but when creating work I see the form in my mind and struggle to represent it well on paper. What looks like a scrappy drawing in my sketchbook is a fully formed sculpture in my head! I need to work on making this work better for other people to view.
Suggested reading and viewing
Tim Shaw’s sculptures use figures to tell a story. His work ‘Soul Snatcher Possession’ (2012) is very disturbing, full size figures in cloth appear as if on a stage, acting out some kind of ritual. The tights fabric stretched over the faces is reminiscent of a bank robber or something being used to smother or tie up and gag the figures. I’m not sure what is taking place, but it’s obviously not nice!
‘Middle World’ (1989 – 2009) also looks disturbing, although it is hard to tell what the figures are doing from small images on the web.
‘Man on Fire’ (2009) is a very powerful sculpture, showing a burning figure running with the top of the torso a mass of flames, on a base with the words “What god of love inspires such hatred in the hearts of men”. An extremely potent political and religious statement about the troubles in Ireland, based on a personal experience in Belfast.
‘Casting a Dark Democracy’ (2010) is another sculpture which makes a powerful political statement, this time about the war in Iraq. An Abu Graihb prisoner made from steel, barbed wire, black Polythene and electrical cable is in an almost crucifixed pose, towering over a pool of crude oil in the shape of the figure’s shadow.
Riflemaker.org, (2015). Riflemaker Contemporary Art | The Riflemaker Gallery | Tot Taylor and Virginia Damtsa Tim Shaw. [online] Available at: http://www.riflemaker.org/s-tim-shaw [Accessed 26 Jul. 2015].
Shaw, T. (2015). Tim Shaw. [online] Timshawsculptor.com. Available at: http://timshawsculptor.com/ [Accessed 26 Jul. 2015].
Giuseppe Penone sculpts out of wood mostly, or uses natural materials or forms in his work. In ‘Spazio di Luce’ 2012 he sculpts a tree with branches, then carves out the centre of the trunk and textures it as tree bark before casting it in bronze. The centre of the tree is then covered in gold leaf and the result is a very striking sculpture.
‘Spazio di Luce’ means “space of light”, the empty space of the tree coated in gold giving the light. It was created by adding layers of wax over the tree, so the internal wax side shows the bark of the tree whilst the outside of the wax still looks like tree bark, but shows the fingerprints of the people making the wax covering. He uses the branches to hold the pieces upright, making them look like they could walk. He then leaves some branches unattached to let in points of light along the tree trunk.
Looking at other work such as ‘Albero Porta—Cedro / Door Tree—Cedar’ (2012), he often carves trees from the centre of larger trees, or beams in some cases. Reading further it is his intention to reveal the past life of the tree by sculpting the smaller tree within it.
He creates some fantastic sculptures by focussing in on trees in this way – I will keep an eye out for his work.
Whitechapel Gallery, (2015). The Bloomberg Commission: Giuseppe Penone: Spazio di Luce – Whitechapel Gallery. [online] Available at: http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/the-bloomberg-commission-giuseppe-penone-spazio-di-luce/ [Accessed 26 Jul. 2015].
Gagosian.com, (2015). Giuseppe Penone – Gagosian Gallery. [online] Available at: http://www.gagosian.com/artists/giuseppe-penone/selected-works [Accessed 26 Jul. 2015].
Yoo, A. (2012). Young Tree Carved Inside Old Tree. [online] My Modern Met. Available at: http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/guiseppe-penone-the-hidden-life-within [Accessed 26 Jul. 2015].
YouTube, (2015). The Bloomberg Commission: Giuseppe Penone: Spazio di Luce. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwe5wDgARCw [Accessed 26 Jul. 2015].