While sculpting “Doubt Kills The Warrior,” I kept returning to the torso and how it held the core of the movement. I was inspired to focus on that part of the piece at a grand scale. I wanted to concentrate on the essence and axis of the movement, illuminating that at the center of everything lays risk, release, and making oneself visible.
Highlighting a small section of a form has been a theme of my work forever. It all comes back to focusing on the quintessence of form, movement, and beauty. The geometric windows in my architectural work, like “Cradle,” “Rolling Hills,” and “Progression of Four” all have been an exploration and variation on this theme.
Between the scale and the gesture itself, this piece is really about being fearless (which may ultimately be the title of the piece)—open, exposed, grand and expansive.
More to come...
A LOT has been happening lately! I just won a prestigious award from Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine at the California Art Club's 101st Annual Gold Medal Exhibition for my life size piece Doubt Kills the Warrior -- I procured a new gallery in San Diego called McNabb Martin Contemporary Art (MMCA) with the help of my new marketing rockstar, Ryan Crowley -- installed a piece at Pacific Sotheby's International Realty office in San Diego -- AND a beautiful two-page spread was just published in the April issue of American Art Collector ...if I could take a breath, I would...but sculpture and life goes on!!! Here are just a few (a lot) of pictures of the highlights of my last few days:
Doubt Kills the Warrior just installed at the Autry National Center - the show is up through April 22nd, 2012
The Gala opening Saturday night - a fabulous event
My muse, Sara
Jena (without whom I could do nothing) and my Dad
Mom and Dad
Here I am receiving my award for excellence in sculpture from Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine - they honored me with an incredible advertising opportunity in their prestigious publication which has national and international distribution
My proud parents
Isn't my fabricator a stud? Thank you Nick Petronzio for everything!
The morning after - the artist brunch
NOW, Chapter 2
Here's my new Gallery MMCA, in Little Italy in San Diego. Make sure if you're there, drop and and visit, it's a beautiful space with a wonderful owner and staff
Ryan is 6'5" just to give you sense of scale - each one of these pieces is ceramic and weighs about 75 lbs - it was a fun installation
Through the Fire could not have found a better new home
Relaxing after the installation, with Pat McNabb Martin
And relaxing with Jena and Ryan - my TEAM!!!
Another good day...
Here's another quickie - also in San Diego
I installed one of my all-time favorite pieces, Rolling Hills, at Pacific Sotheby's
It's a difficult piece to install, everything went smoothly, they loved it, and it's terrific exposure
and LASTLY, I am THRILLED to share a beautiful two-page editorial in American Art Collector, in the April 2012 issue
So Thank You Everyone who came to the Autry or saw my facebook posts and congratulated me (or those who didn't know about it but would have) -
Clearly it has been a long time since my last post. This is not for lack of content- sometimes I feel like there is a gun to my head to both create work and find the time to share it. Wouldn't it be great if you could all just come by the studio, have a glass of Prosecco, and have your own experience from time to time.
In any case, I am now working on an enlargement of an element from my life-size piece 'Doubt Kills the Warrior' (formerly known as 'Sara'). It is the heart of the piece that embodies the core of the movement: "Axis."
I've never built an armature in foam before. My friend and artist, the awesome Nick Petronzio, is helping me. It has been quite a learning process. Many (most) sculptors are now employing laser technology to enlarge or reduce sculptures. This is not a choice I was interested in at all. Even when I sculpted 'Doubt', I made a decision to sculpt the hands 10% larger than life-size; first of all because I love hands, but more importantly because when you look up, they are way above your head, and would appear smaller if they were true to scale. These and many other kinds of aesthetic decisions cannot be made by a machine.
Here are some early progress shots - so far I have about 900lbs of clay on her. It's just the beginning, the sculpting hasn't really started.
In the past few months I have been experimenting with different ways of dealing with ceramic surface. I've often been dissatisfied-as have my students-with the outcome of glaze. It can be too glossy, cover too much texture in the surface, and can be unreliable. Here are some recent pictures of my own and student pieces with acrylic polymer patinas and oil paint. I've also been experimenting with ceramic materials like terra sig, engobes, and mason stains. Those pictures are still to come.
Here's my own piece...a small one of Sara...
Here's my student Molly and I standing around her newly painted torso...
These next three pieces were made by my student Marsh Drucker, who's been experimenting a lot with paint, and getting some fabulous results!
For anyone interested in taking a class, new 8-week sessions are starting at the beginning of October at the following times:
I came upon an article in the New Yorker that is the most wonderful thing I've read in a LONG time! Not that there is a need to justify what I do, but I must admit I have felt defensive in the climate of art critics and the movement of modern and contemporary art away from honoring craft and toward the 'less artisanal, but no less demanding--conceptual, historically conscious, made of mind and thought.'
So read this article Life Studies-What I learned when I learned to draw by New York art critic Adam Gopnik. The change in his perspective and the way in which he reveals this year-long journey is refreshing, literate, funny, and personal. Here's a taste--a favorite paragraph:
We stopped for coffee afterward and I asked Jacob why, given his skill at seeing and showing the world as it was, he never wanted to draw the particulars of this world as it is, the world that we found ourselves in, where people met at endless dinner parties. He drew his kids beautifully but without their iPods and Gameboys and Vitamin Waters. Why not draw as a novelist might write, with the appurtenances and accessories of this time?
He looked at me and seemed almost angry- 'No, that's--you've so absorbed the premises of modern realism into your head that you can't see past it. Why didn't Michelangelo draw people buying fish, instead of nudes and gods? He was looking for some idea of beauty, rooted in this world...that didn't need an ipod to justify it. He really had an idea of timeless beauty. Why is beauty less interesting to you than journalism?'
Also, check out this website - figurativesculptors.com.It's a new site that sculptor, Denis Grace, has launched just for the love of figurative sculpture. This site creates a network and community of figurative sculptors and serves as a much appreciated resource for these artists, art lovers and collectors . I know what it takes to build and maintain a website and he's doing this all for no charge. I want to thank and salute him for his efforts!
He owns and runs Berman School of Ceramic Arts.
He taught me the bulk of what I know about firing and building large. He went to Chouinard Art School (now CalArts) in the late 60s and studied with Ralph Bacerra. Some of his classmates were guys like Adrian Saxe and Peter Shire. He started building kilns and loved it. In fact, when I got my big kiln (I can stand up inside of it) 15 years ago it was Harry who tweaked it out for me and put special fittings on the door and customized it in a bunch of other ways. When he was in school he was making big pieces that blew up. John Mason invited him over and explained the concept of firing slowly. The big "X" was already at the County Museum by then. He told him it was fired for two weeks. Based on what John Mason told Harry and what Harry passed on to me, I very frequently do 5-day fires. Most people think I'm crazy, but I've NEVER lost a piece.
We talked about working with paper clay which I've been interested in experimenting with for awhile , and now am really excited about. I thought I would try to work hollow, but the deeper I explored other people's working techniques, the less compelling it has become. Conceptually I work from the inside out - not the outside in - which is what working hollow is all about.
He also offered me tips on a new clay - Hopkins white, which I am going to try, after years with my favorite clay WS O and some more cool armature tips. I loved having the opportunity to be back in the studio where I learned so much and to continue to exchange information with other artists. It doesn't happen enough.
So, if you ever want to take a ceramics class and you live anywhere near North Hollywood go check out the studio. Harry's the greatest.
If you open the dictionary and look up the word "muse" Sara Streeter's name should be there. There is a reason she has worked with so many extraordinary artists and magical work has been created as a result of their collaboration.
The relationship between artist and model is intimate and sacred – it certainly has always been for me. It's the nature of being a figurative artist to go deeper and deeper into essence – not only into what a model looks like but what she feels like. And what she brings is everything. There are no words really to express the gratitude I have for the process I am engaged in with my dear friend and collaborator, Sara.
Please, if you have a chance go see this exhibition called a little show for sara by artist Frank Minuto. He has been working with her for several years and is presenting a show of work dedicated to her. I had the privelage of seeing images of several pieces in advance of the exhibition. She was given chalk and blank paper and danced to the Rite of Spring while she created the work on paper with her own body in response to the music. He then produced the photographic images of her merged with the work she created. They are shockingly beautiful beyond description.
It will be this Sunday at Angels Gate Cultural Center.
Thank you Sara for who you are and what you give so generously.
There is something magical that occurs between me and the woman I am sculpting. Of course, the years of having my hands and eyes in the clay lend me to trust the process in a way that I am able to be completely present. For that I am grateful.
On the second day of working together it became even clearer what this piece is about for both of us. The integration of opposites, being at a crossroads, exposure and vulnerability, containment and release – so many things that are deeply personal to each of us. We understand each other. She brings her whole heart and it is expressed in her movement.
This piece is moving inordinately fast. Even I am surprised. I feel like I'm being led. I started out thinking I was just going to do a torso but before you know it there was a portrait and I'm moving up into the arms – maybe even arms and hands – a full floating figure.
Here is the progression of day 2 with Sarah:
There is a Killer house on the market for only $17.5 mil at the top of Mulholland with a view of the entire San Gabriel Valley. My dear friend Pattee Stayrook of Art O'Rama curated the artwork (including 4 of my pieces) in this house for sale. My work has never looked better! The designer is Rose & Chang and there will be a viewing opportunity to bring friends and collectors on December 4th between 4-7 pm – let me know if you want to come. It's BEAUTIFUL!