I have chosen not to have an artist statement with this piece as I enjoy finding out what other people see in it.
The spheres were based on microscope images of pollen grains and follow on from my use of spheres in Part 2.
Several other elements of the sculpture were then influenced by the work of Lee Bontecou whose books I am reading at the moment (Bontecou et al., 2008 and Bontecou et al., 2014). The first influence is in the production of a wall piece, which a large number of her pieces are, the second is the use of a dark holes in the piece.
I was hoping to display my work alongside hers here, but I can’t find any images on the web which I can be sure I am allowed to use, so will have to make do with a link:
My holes are similarly organic in shape and have a black fabric background. I also use steel, although in flat sheets rather than as a framework for fabric. Bontecou’s sculptures are also more 3D than mine, although they still make use of flat planes.
Interestingly, Danto (Danto, 2016) likens Bontecou’s work to Robert Hooke’s Micrographia (an early microscopist), and her mobile work makes use of sphere shapes, so my pollen grain spheres fit with her work in this respect as well.
The final source of inspiration then probably originates from my day job as a GIS officer where I use map layers on top of each other for display and analysis. This sculpture makes similar use of two layers of steel.
So far, I have had comments on it that fall into three different categories:
- The night sky with stars / star forms / Glimpsing through galaxy black holes to new stars
- the Universe, especially lakes on mars
- Space creatures
- another Death star from star wars
- Viruses (apoptosis)
- Blood and cells
- Nuclii staring out like eyes
- Sea mines
- Sea urchins
- Puffer fish
- the sea and the underwater wilderness
- rocks with pockets of natural treasure
That no-one guessed the source of my inspiration is of no concern to me as it was only very loosely based on pollen grains (and only the sphere part of it). The fact that it raised so many comments and people saw such different things in it is very pleasing to me I have commented previously that in my art I hope to stir a number of emotions with my art:
- Spark of imagination
I think this sculpture fulfils this brief so I am very pleased with the way it has turned out.
Overall this sculpture worked out as I planned it, the main thing I should have done differently was to plan the sculpture to include the black background at the outside, although my final solution did work.
There are two areas which could be improved:
The felt background works well around the spheres where it nestles them. However, in the smaller flat spaces it lacks depth. These areas would be improved by recessing the black background.
The steel rods holding the spheres in position distract from the idea of the spheres in the holes.
These issues could be addressed by adding another sheet at the back of the sculpture painted black to act as the background to the holes (this might need to be curved up at the ends to ensure the edge couldn’t be viewed through the holes if looked at from an angle). The spheres could then be made complete by welding the cut out piece back onto them after casting, drilling and tapping a hole through the back piece. Then a threaded rod could be welded to the back sheet (before painting it black) and the sphere screwed onto this rod.
It is a very heavy sculpture, so requires a strong wall fixing. It could be made lighter by using aluminium, painting it with iron paint and rusting it, or possibly by using thinner steel (although I would worry about the sheets buckling or denting). Whether these would work as well is questionable though.
This would also work well as smaller framed pictures which could hang on a normal picture hook if the thinnest steel possible was used and the bronze was as thin as possible. I may try this out.
I also did some sketches on how to produce this sculpture in a similar style to Lee Bontecou:
This is also something I would like to pursue in the future (too many ideas, not enough time!).
The use of sphere in sculpture has a lot of possibilities, having used these in this assignment and the previous stage when working with planes. They also offer a less expensive way of using bronze as the bulk of the sculpture can be in cheaper steel, with small details in bronze (for instance in archways).
Pollen grains are a good source of inspiration for these, as are many other subjects:
Googling for other artists to compare my work again came up with Colin Letts (Letts, 2016) who looks like he also uses pollen grains for inspiration. Also, my Google image search for ‘sculpture bronze sphere steel’ came up with some images from this blog site, highlighting that this combination is not that common. Pursuing this combination is what I plan to do, both because I enjoy it and also because it will give me a unique selling point.
Bontecou, L., Smith, E., Philbin, A. and De Salvo, D. (2008). Lee Bontecou. 1st ed. Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art.
Bontecou, L., White, M., Ashton, D. and Banach, J. (2014). Lee Bontecou. 1st ed. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Danto, A. (2016). A Tribe Called Quest. [online] The Nation. Available at: https://www.thenation.com/article/tribe-called-quest/ [Accessed 2 Dec. 2016].
Letts, C. (2016). Bronze. [online] Collin Letts – Sculpture | Furniture | Accessories. Available at: http://www.collinletts.com/new-page-2/ [Accessed 2 Dec. 2016].
The Museum of Modern Art. (2016). Lee Bontecou. Untitled. 1959 | MoMA. [online] Available at: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/80745?locale=en [Accessed 2 Dec. 2016].