Betty Branch in Sculpture Review
I admit to a love/hate relationship with "Sculpture Review" throughout my life. There is plenty of reason to love and appreciate it. All during the post-war, post-art collapse of Western visual culture, Sculpture Review refused to move past 1950 -- and God bless them for it.(nothing similar has ever existed for the traditional styles of painting). But there was also plenty of reason to be dissappointed: Sculpture Review, the house-organ for the National Sculpture Society, represented the the politically conservative wing of American culture. It was academic in the ancient Egyptian sense: i.e. a preference for decorum over decoration -- and the sculpture they showed was usually just plain dull. But every once in a while -- they struck gold -- and eventually I coudn't resist any more, and subscribed for the first time in the mid nineties. But then, as fate would have it, their old-guard retired, and their new guard declared themselves an avant garde. They started showing things that were not only dull, but also meaningless. I.e. -- they had joined hands with with the new Academia (40 years too late) - and in despair, I cancelled my subscription. It was just too painful to wait 6 months for each new issue -- only to find most of it to be a slap in the face.
But still -- they remain the only art publication in America (if not the world) that occasionally has something to offer -- and I was very excited to discover the above picture in the Autumn, 2005 edition.
The sculptor is one Betty Branch of Roanoke, Virginia -- and I know nothing more about her, except that she must either be a luddite (anti-technology) or old and childless -- since neither she nor her children have made a website for her.
One thing that S.R. has always excelled at is sculpture photography -- and they certainly did a job for the above statue, entitled "Small Goddess".
Judging from the title, I suppose the piece is palm-size -- like the Venus of Wallendorf -- which it recalls by its profound celebration of the full-size female body -- a body proper to an earth goddess -- and worthy of worship.But beyond her prehistoric sister -- this goddess is stately, composed -- i.e. civilized -- and not 'small' at all.
I wish I could see more of Betty Branch's work. If she lived in Japan, she would be called a 'cultural treasure'