Posts Tagged ‘Sculpture’


I’ve been editing the video of my Virtual Gallery Talk over the last day or so, cutting away some of the rougher sections. I am not an experienced film editor so it’s going slow. Plus, it takes time because it’s so painful to watch myself on the recording that I can’t do it for too long at once. But there should be a version available within a day or so on YouTube, if you’re interested.

The first will just have the beginning monologue. The second will be more complete, with a look at some of the work in the show at the West End Gallery and the questions put to me by the participants.

Because the viewer knew that we shared a love for baseball, he posed a questions that had to do with a piece of public art from artist Red Grooms that resides beyond the centerfield fence at Marlins Stadium in Miami. Called Homer, it’s an epic piece, 73 feet tall, comprised of colorful rainbows,  flamingos, swaying palm trees, and marlins jumping from the waves. It even goes into motion with water a-gushing whenever a Marlins player hits a home run.

It’s a pretty gaudy piece with it cartoon-like imagery and bright colors, which are a Grooms trademark. As a result, it has become somewhat controversial. People seem to either love it or hate it. I was asked for my thoughts on it.

Hey, if I were in the ballpark, I would love it. Why not? It’s loud and celebratory. It’s fun. It serves its purpose ideally. Nobody goes to the ballpark to see Botticelli paintings or Rodin sculptures, as enticing as it might be to see a homer dinging off The Thinker.

Would I want it in my front yard?


Art serves different purposes in different settings. Epic public pieces can seldom speak in intimate terms though there are certainly those that do. The sitting Lincoln at his Memorial, for instance, has a feeling that is inward and seems to reach out to the viewer in personal terms.

As powerful as it is, I don’t want that in my yard either.

Or out in centerfield. Though I hear Lincoln was a helluva fielder.

All glove, no bat, as they say.

To sum up, Homer is the art it is meant to be. Have fun with it. It’s baseball!

Thanks, for the question, Dave.

Here’s Mabel Scott with her wonderful Baseball Boogie.

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No matter how individual we humans are, we are a composite of everything we are aware of. We are a mirror of our times.

Louise Berliawsky Nevelson


I am always intrigued by the images I see of the work of Louise Berliawsky Nevelson (1899-1988) who emigrated to the US from Ukraine in the early part of the 20th century. She is best known for her sculpture that is comprised of found objects assembled in large, monumental wall pieces that are often painted in monochromatic tones. There is visual excitement provided by the various shapes of the many bits and pieces contained within the sculptures. They are familiar forms, often dissembled furniture elements, that take on a new meaning in the work.

It makes me want to try to do that sort of thing but the pull is not strong enough to ever get me to actually try. It’s interesting work that makes me try to see a meaning within it that fits my own vision and needs. But I can never quite see a way where it can do what I need it to do for myself. I take that as a sign that it is not my form of expression.

Plus, from a pragmatic standpoint, it looks like it would be a nightmare to dust.

Nevelson’s words above resonate with me. As humans, we are composites of everything we take in. Likewise, artists express this humanness in their work, mirroring their feelings taken from these influences.

I know this is definitely true for myself. I generally can’t help but reflecting my feelings on the world around me. I would think to try to not do so would make one’s work cold and distant. Inhuman.

And that takes us away from the purpose of art as expressions of our humanity.

So, to my artist friends out there, take in all you can and let the world know how you feel it. It’s the human thing to do.

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Fraser Smith -The Lake

Fraser Smith -The Lake

These quilts will keep you warm on a cold night– if you burn them in your fireplace.

You see, they are elaborate trompe l’oeil  ( it means fool the eye) sculptures from artist Fraser Smith.  Starting with large glued slabs of basswood, Smith carves quilts, coats, shirts, robes and other textile items, finishing them off with paints that add a layer of reality that completes the transition from a block of wood to something that convinces your mind that it is soft and cuddly.

I am amazed at the detail work and can only conclude that Smith has an amazing obsession for this.  Check out the examples below as well the short film that shows how the piece at the top metamorphosizes.  Interesting stuff.   Also check out his website by clicking here.

Fraser Smith Improv 7 2009 Carved Wood and Silk Dyes Fraser Smith Finding Beauty in Bad Things 2013 Carved Wood and Silk Dyes Fraser Smith American Jacket 2010 Carved Wood and Silk Dyes

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Holy Family-  American Folk Art MuseumI wasn’t going to write anything today but I opened a book that I have featuring works from the American Folk Art Museum, one that I browse on a regular basis.  The page I turned to is near the middle of the book, a page that I always seem to turn to when I open the book,  showing a carved piece, Holy Family,  that I  just love.  It is attributed to the 19th century  woodcarver John Philip Yaeger, a German born craftsman who worked in the Baltimore area.  I’m not religious in any traditional sense of the word but I thought this would be a fitting image to show today, which is Ash Wednesday on the Christian calendar.

There’s something irresistibleabout this carving,  beyond the subject matter,  that I just can’t put my finger on.  The color of its patina is beautifully golden and warm. The lines are smooth and rhythmic.  There’s a wonderful balance of fineness and roughness in the way the pieces of wood that make up the sculpture are put together.  It has a modern feel yet seems old– a timeless quality.  Everything about it has that sense of rightness that I have tried to describe here without much success in the past.

I also am intrigued but he damage on the left shoulder of the father.  I don’t know if this is just a property of the wood after these many years but it looks like it may have been near a cat who saw this as a perfect scratching post.  But even that doesn’t lessen the power of the piece.  It fits right into the wholeness of it.  Imperfectly perfect.

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