Sculpture exhibit from my website
Isabel McIlvain is an art professor somewhere on the east coast -- and I got this picture from a gallery before she left it. Yes -Isabel is a realist-anatomy freak--bringing her forms very close to the model's -- and yet -- she picks beautiful young bodies and then organizes them with a stately, dreamlike, cold perfection that I find solemn and delicious. This is the most classical of classical sculpture: realism and idealism inseparable. There are no forms in a real body - since every shape melts into the next-- and she's caught that melting -- even as she's made a nice little piece of 18th century chamber music.
If Isabel is Periclean -- Diana Moore is archaic-- with the healthy, young hero (or in her case, heroine) staring straight ahead with the calm confidence of eternal youth. This female Kore has climbed straight out of the 5th century BCE - as simple and indestructible as the iron in which she's cast. Diana (appropriately named) makes virgin goddesses - and woe to the man who stumbles accross them when they've pulled off their rusty clothes.
Nicholas Africano makes glass sculpture - so one of the effects, perhaps not seen in this picture, is translucency -- which furthers the dreamy other-worldliness of his gentle figures. His standing statues have too-thick ankles to accomodate the glass -- but a nice, cushy chair is just right for them. His girls are ghosts, not goddesses -- but the good kind of ghosts from Chinese folk-stories that seduce young, impecunious scholars in lonely, remote villages.
Vartkes Barsoumian is an Armenian-Syrian sculptor in the tradition of 20th century Armenian -- and therefore Soviet-- sculpture. This piece is a puzzle isn't it ? The head is a serious old man -- the body is a don't-fool-with-me old woman. The character seems both severe and maternal - and yet there's a kind of whimsical lightness about him/her. He seems so real -- but it's the reality of personality, not of physical anatomy. It's a full body-language portrait of a distinct personality -- made to feel important -- but also made to feel beloved. The title of it is "My Father" -- and if I were assembling an exhibit of great portrait sculpture of the world, I might begin with Akhenaten, and end with Barsoumian.
I have no idea what Hanneke Beaumont's figures are doing -- they look bewildered within some profound circumstance -- serving as memorials to important events thatnobody has ever heard of. I guess that qualifies her as post-modern so gets into contemporary galleries -- but she also gets into mine. Maybe I'd call her a social (but not a socialist) realist -- because this is how urban office workers appear to me when I see them on the train platforms. This particular fellow seems to be walking in the treacherous landscape of his dream-world -- possibly anxious about his job at the bank.
(I first saw the above two sculptors at the now-defunct annual Navy Pier Art Fair)
I am grateful to my friend, Bernard Charpentier, for sharing his photos of this Russian sculptor, Viktor Korneev. (as a diplomat, and sculpture fanatic, Bernard takes his camera to a lot of distant places). Korneev is an outstanding graduate of Soviet art education -- but he didn't stop working when the empire crumbled, and it looks like he's turned in the Italian direction -- like Emilio Greco or Marino Marini. A warm, Mediterranean breeze has reached the Baltic shores of Petersburg -- and let's all dance with the inner rhythms of sensuality !
Tom Tsuchiya was sent by the sculpture gods to be my aging father's first, last, and only real student -- combining an oriental devotion to mastery with an abundance of talents -- and only he, so far as I've seen, has created a vision of contemporary social life that is both positive and realistic -- making him the ideal sculptor for an ancient faith (Roman Catholicism) that wants to make that faith evident in the contemporary world. He's got the power and gentle inner swing of the great sculpture made for Buddhism and the Hindu sects, as well as Christianity -- but like the great Japanese-American before him, Isamu Noguchi, who also started out in European classicism, he may well end up making Zen sculpture -- or will his subject matter progress from the mascots and donors to a Jesuit university (and the baseball heros of the Cincinnati Reds) up to the saints, the Virgin, or even the Savior himself? People with great talent have many options.