I had a studio visit Thursday with one of Houston’s top curators. This was her third visit to my studio. She gets my work and I highly value her input. It is always nice when they love your work but when you are trying something new that does not always happen. I don’t Invite them to visit your studio just to give you compliments. I showed her the piece I am currently working on without sharing with her my artist statement.
My artist statement-”Score” is a sculpture of energy, sound and the physical act of playing contemporary classical music and its primal impact on emotions. I was inspired by a long exposure photograph of my cousin, Arkansas Symphony Concert Master Andrew Irvin, that captured multiple images as he played his violin. I was struck by the simple back and forth movements of a bow drawn by hairs of a horse across strings that create emotionally charged sounds. I cannot carry a tune, I don’t understand musical terms, I have never played or tried to play an instrument, and I don’t sing. I danced, I took many years of ballet. When I listen to music I feel and see movement. On this piece, the music radiates off of the musician as he plays as well as off the strings of the violin, sometimes like a painfully slow waltz and sometimes with the sharpness of a quick step. I examine each movement of the bow and the wire that comes off the violin, some warble and then end sharply, others gently twist into a whisper that fades, and some linger and then like a murmuration of birds’ pivots. I applied the concept of seeing multiple images, and seeing music as energy in three dimensions. The piece is built on a steel armature covered in plaster, recycled wire cloth, and bailing wire.)
She saw my artistic interpretation of the violin music, and movement captured over a period of time as dead vines or plant growth overcoming a figure and she did not recognize my blurred hands as movement. I really appreciate her honesty, her comments will help me make it a better piece. I want the viewer to have to spend time with the piece. I want them to have to figure out what I am saying. Keeping that in mind I have to decide how to make the hands look like hands that are blurred. I think the solution is to physically put some blurred fingers closer to the plaster hands.
She also thought the face needed to be either very refined or less defined.
I was pleased to hear that because I have had the urge to further abstract the face. Today I placed some if the 1/4 rusted and broken wire cloth over his face and I kind of like it. To me it seems to blur the figure as movement blurs in a photograph. I will live with it awhile and if I am not pleased in a week or two I will probably add more plaster and do a Manuel Neri thing to his face.
She loved the back side side of him and suggested I look at http://chiharu-shiota.com/en/works/
I am was not familiar with Chiharu - shiota’s work, and wow! I would love to have place to just go crazy and fill a room with the music made by my figure. This is a thought to keep in the back of my mind.
There is a hole in the armature near his crotch that bothered her. I have been waiting for someone to mention this. It is an easy fix, I will get to it eventually.
She is not a fan of the plaster as a material for this subject. Many sculptors first make small plaster maquettes of their sculptors before they make the piece full size. On this point I respectfully disagree there are many acclaimed artist who work in plaster. I love the white plaster and how it contrast with the wire.
The above images reflect the changes I made as a result of the critique.