We’re about to learn what we really need to live a good life. Pandemic panic will evaporate the obscuring haze. All those classes, sporting events, movies, performances, restaurants, art exhibits, none were necessary enough to go to. We can retreat to the virtual communities where we are completely surveilled.
A new title occurs for this sculpture. The Blue Pearl Bodhisattva.
This Horse isn’t a Deity or a Buddha, but remains mortal on Earth to give help to all who suffer.
Meanwhile, I’m heavily influenced by some Chinese rural handicraft and cooking videos… technique of paper mache.
Covering the whole surface with colored construction-paper papermaché. The use of children’s art materials doesn’t only open memories of child-like processes; Children’s art supplies are extremely easy to use, give good results, are forgiving, dry quickly, and are non-toxic. Really, they are advanced. The various colors remind how many layers of paper have gone on too. The surface finish on this is very solid now; I’m both please with the design and the manufacture of it. I like the texture the squares of paper make; its very textile I think. Ultimately I ought to paint it over one color to make it waterproof; perhaps a light light blue, over a pale rose…. with some gold dust highlights… meanwhile it is really nice to be working in all this color!
Much of the sculpture I’m seeing on social media depends on the impact of the juxtapositions of some kind of physical property and/or conceptual context.
Scale, material, art history, and pop culture, collide in a mashup of vision, experience and meaning. Think of a monumental replica bust of Caesar, made of chocolate, upon a column draped with Confederate flags… that sort of thing.
My reactions to these is sometimes “what a lot of work” for so simple an effect. I think that much of this is built by fabricators or makers, and what are now lately described as “art workers”. It more frequently makes good use of digital tools like 3D scanners and printers, especially in the use of the large scale. This is enabling for three dimensional work, the same cut-and-paste mentality which has done so much to energize the 2D works of the multimedia, but especially photography, or more accurately, digital images. See my post, machine-made-art
I see a time may come soon where large sculptures are no longer shipped worldwide for display, but reproductions, “editions” if you will, are quickly fabricated locally for show, using digitally controlled machinery.
The “Artists” of these works perform as directors or executives, and never emerge from the conceptual realm. Thereafter, the work appears imaginary and insubstantial, and can convey most of what can be know about it in a simple photograph. These images travel well over the internet by delivering their easy visual gags to the many undiscriminating online awaiting entertainment.
I want to “like” a lot of this work, for its design element, but it is rather simple and jokey. I am still surprised (and jealous) about the amount of resources often going into making it.
Meanwhile, the individual object of art is almost unaffected by this change. It will continue to be created, mostly by one person, by hand, with simple tools, or un-specialized machines, individually. There is little distribution because the market is small and the object is unique and physical, limited in movement. The personal expression of the artist is unique in it’s source: the inner life of the person, it’s creation: the specific manual skill and sensibility of the artist, and it’s meaning: sensuality or spirit, Dionysian or Apollonian, and more.
Surface treatment, from an idea I saw on Instagram…
The halfway point of a sculpture is like swimming to the middle of the ocean… you are not quite sure where you are, either shore equally too far off, but you go forward to the shore you don’t know and away from your starting point.
From here I need to consider the surface finishing of this – color texture pattern adornment – I thought about plaster, because it seems so malleable and still stone-like, and I made a small bozzetto to try it and remembered what a pain plaster is to get upright on a surface. It is really only best for molding.
I made the model and it turned out exactly like the foam figure, which tells me two things – that the plaster doesn’t bring me any closer to the finished surface, but on the other hand, the foam piece is done and nothing needs to be added to it.
The foam core of this Buddha is nearly finished, a few cavities to patch and some sanding to smooth and even out the surface. The clear and present direction to f\go forward with is what I started out to do; cover it with masking tape and then paper mache. I won’t use the “paper clay” recipe from another project. It is too messy like plaster to re-work, and anyway making large batches of the stuff is a chore.