Fall 2011

New wood

Vol LX, No.2

Movement in Sculpture
by Ann Landi

Scenes from one site of the world's oldest-known art-the 30,000-year-old paintings and incised images in the Chauvet Caves in southern France-still astonish us with the illusion of fluid and dynamic movement painters brought to their subjects using only charred sticks and simple pigments made of ground clays. Horses charge across the irregular surfaces; rhinos tackle each other head on or thunder in herds; lions surge, perhaps toward unseen prey. In some tableaux, it seems as though these prehistoric artists came close to inventing animation, so powerful is the sense of animals in intense, lifelike motion, in multiple layered images, many depicted with shading and perspective as well. But for sculptors, obdurate stone presented way too many obstacles. How did you infuse movement into a lump of inert matter-a mound of clay, for instance-or chip away at a hard block to release a figure bristling with energy? Some of the earliest sculptors who wanted to bring motion to their art turned to relief, sometimes achieving powerful illusions of sinuous motion in animals incised on Cretan vases, or of flight, as in the chariot scenes from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal from 850 b.c. But freestanding sculpture presented a different set of challenges, and much is made in art history classes of that stiffly smiling Kouros who took one step forward around 600 b.c. From then on, over the next few centuries, the Greeks would conquer the three-dimensional human form by leaps and bounds, bringing us the goddesses of the Parthenon, whose draperies appear to ripple with the slightest breeze; an athlete on the suspenseful brink of releasing his discus; or Zeus poised to hurl a thunderbolt-a way of suggesting motion arrested, or potentially uncoiling, which would appeal to sculptors for centuries to come.
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The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Opens in Arkansas
by Gwen Pier

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened its doors to the public on November 11, 2011 (11-11-11) in Bentonville, northwest Arkansas. Designed by internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the museum buildings are situated around two man-made ponds fed by the nearby Crystal Spring, from which the museum derives its name. Copper roofs cover the six pavilions-some of which are actual bridges-that unite to comprise the 200,000 square-foot museum
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Movement is the Vibration Between the Figure and the Context
by Barbara Lekberg From an interview with Patricia Delahanty

Inspiration for Barbara Lekberg's sculpture comes from a variety of sources: music, dance, news photography, literature, and science have all been important in the development of her work. Such influences are easily recognizable in her vibrant sculptures of dancers and her figures drawn from mythology, the Bible, and theater. The artist absorbs a multitude of impressions, from the most fleeting of thoughts to the impact of life events. Lekberg feels the creative process involves both conscious and unconscious work in organizing experience: "Something may affect you and months and even years can pass before it surfaces as an idea for sculpture. It may seem like a jolt of sudden inspiration, but a lot of work has already been done unconsciously. I think daydreaming, where the mind is relaxed and open and ideas float freely, can be an aid in accessing such ideas." Bácsi is known for his sculptures of voluptuous, zaftig women in exuberant and luxuriating poses and caricature-like portraits, which reveal the foibles of both self–important people and the common man. While others might see them as a platform for social commentary, Bácsi says, with these works, he has just one intention "to make people smile. However defined, Bácsi thinks humor is an essential element in the social fabric that serves to counterbalance hardships and angst." There is so much devastation in the world.
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Emotions in motion
by Germana Pucci

"Joy of Life expresses the elation of physical freedom, the bliss of flight in a gust of wind." - Gwen Marcus
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