Harry Bertoia : A Pioneer of Wire, Space and Sound

Thursday, February 24, 2011 0 comments
Harry Bertoia was born on March 10, 1915. Aside from his passion in the world of sculpture, he was also into modernist furniture design. Despite being born in Italy, Bertoia decided to stay in Detroit during his teenage years, studying high school at Cass Technical. It was here where Bertoia developed his skills in design as well as handcrafting jewelry. He moved on to the College for Creative Studies (back then called by another name) in the late 1930's.

Bertoia taught jewelry design and metal-smithing in his new found workshop in 1939. During the war, he made use of hi time crafting rings for prestigious personalities like Edmund Bacon's wife and Ray Eames. Eventually he settled down with a woman named Brigitta Valentiner in the early 1940's. He had several moves during his life, including one to California and another one to Pennsylvania. He later started to design several wire pieces such as the famous "Diamond Chair".

Sculpture by Harry Bertoia - Photography author: N. Jeppson

Bertoia described his artistic chairs as artworks that are curiously present as a result of space passing through them. Many of his works, whether in wire sculpture or kinetic sculpture, revolve around the theme of air. Whether it be to produce sound, like those exhibited in his performance album "Sonambient" or to merely coexist within the chambers of his composition, Bertoia's pronouncement of air as an artistic element is as admirable as it is interesting.

Today, many of his works can be found at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, the Honolulu Academy of Arts and the Detroit Institute of Arts among others.
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Modern Elegance and the Eve Sculptures of Kylo Chua

A modernist abstract sculptor from the Philippines, Chua was born into a Chinese family in Richmond, British Columbia in 1988- a year considered within Chinese circles to belong to the Dragon zodiac. The interplay of Chinese traditions and western influences in the Philippines cultivated an aesthetic hybridity in Kylo Chua's cast sculptures during his college years. In 2006, while studying at the Ateneo de Manila University under a Bachelor of Fine Arts Program, Chua began creating elegant pieces that resembled a continuous flow of liquid white. There exists a purity and sensuality in his artistry that permeates the visual appreciation of his patrons.

Currently at 22 years of age, Chua has garnered a following of modernists and art enthusiasts because of his abstract mannerisms. He has exhibited pieces nationally around the Philippines, but takes up his residency as the youngest sculptor of the Artasia Gallery in Quezon City. He has also exhibited several works through esteemed shows held in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sculpture by Kylo Chua (2009) - Photography by Philip Yu

Chua was the first to receive the Loyola Schools Awards for the Arts in Sculpture when he graduated in 2010 at the Ateneo. He has also won an Honorary Mention at the Shell National Art Awards held at the Ayala Museum in 2009.

Sculpture by Kylo Chua (2009) - Photohraphy by Philip Yu

His figures of serpentine contour often resemble an infinity trait that can also be understood as the numerical 8. Chinese trace the number eight to be a fortunate symbol in their traditions and lifestyle. Aside from female and paired figurines, Chua also makes use of animal subjects, such as his creation "River Swan" in 2010 and an upcoming moving cheetah sculpture in 2011.
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Michael Tom's Brass Creations

Born on 1946 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Michael Tom was an American sculptor who practices the art of metalsmithing abstract compositions through his own aesthetic depiction. Tom originally pursued painting as an artistic career, however he gradually moved in favor to the three-dimensional forms of modern art. He received his degree in painting and metalsmithing from the Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, and eventually went to the San Diego State University for his graduate studies. From painting, he turned to the world of art jewelry, combining the intricacies of art with the presence of luxury in today's jewelry. This endeavor gave him the inspirations to aspire more out of metalsmithing as well. He pursued the craft of mixed media and honed his working skills with copper and brass.

Sculpture Work by Artist Michael Tom - 1985 - (East West Center)

Tom's works showcase a variety of geometric elements such as ridges, angular surfaces and platform contours. His spectrum of elements combine with one another to create an overall composition that is lasting to the eye as it is to the touch. His works allow viewers to see a perceived sense of texture that they can imagine in their heads to be something never felt before. He was very famous for his small copper sculptures created by several hammering techniques.

In 1992, Tom obtained the Catharine E.B Cox Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts. His works are still housed today in the Hawaii State Art Museum and the East-West Center.
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Christopher Bathgate and Working with Metals

A Metal sculptor residing in Baltimore Marland, Bathgate's pieces exude a sense of mechanical complexity in their aesthetics. The contours in his artworks often reflect on the shapes associated with industrial beauty and design. He practices multiple variations of craftsmanship, including handworking, electoplating, heat coloring and computer aided design. For Bathgate, his art is also as much about the process as the final output. The long and tedious creation of each and every work allows Bathgate to further develop his self-taught style of metal-sculpting.

Sculptures and Photography by Christopher Bathgate

Bathgate's metal artworks have been exhibited throughout the Maryland area, as well as in New York, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., and also in North Carolina. He is currently being represented by Fine Arts Gallery Imperato in Baltimore. Bathgate is also a member of Viridian Artists Inc, an artist cooperative.
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The Giants of Calle Örnemark

Hailing from Sweden, this curious sculptor is famous for his crafting of larger-than-life wooden artworks. The very first big sculpture he produced was entitled the Jätten Vist which meant the Giant Vist. It stands eleven meters tall and is located next to route E4 at Huskvarna in Europe. The sculpture art comes with its very own legend background: This giant was coming home from Vastergotland when he threw a mix of grass and dirt into the lake Vattern for his wife to trudge through. This act created the island of Visingso. Örnemark's creations, intimidating in size, stand to us as a great novelty in the world of art. He shares a proud uniqueness through these works and they give a bold insight to the international community of sculptors and art enthusiasts.

Sculpture by Calle Örnemark - Photography by Melo Man

In the 1980's, he created a sculpture that resembled a giant ship. The artwork was entitled Bounty. Along with another artwork; Indiska reptricket, Örnemark's pieces drew up huge crowds to marvel at their sheer size and impact. Indiska reptricket at the time, became the world's highest sculpture, standing at 103 meters into the sky. In 2007, both of  Örnemark's pieces had to be taken down though due to natural deterioration. Today, he currently lives and works in Gränna, but still maintains a sculpture studio in Visingso. Other famous works include a huge wooden balloon in his home-place of Gränna and a replica of the wreckage of Henry Morgan's ship in Gratangen, Norway.
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Marvin Lipofsky : A Glassful of Imagination

Lipofsky was an integral catalyst in the spreading of glass art throughout America. He was the artist who introduced the craft to the state of California by teaching at various universities like the state university, Berkley and the College of Art and Crafts. Born on Sept. 2, 1938, Lipofsky always had a knack for the language of the arts. Though raised with a family-business in mind, he graduated as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois and eventually graduated with an MS and MFA in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin in 1964. The studio-glass movement was Lipofsky's central passion. While studying in Wisconsin, he encountered Harvey Littleton as an art mentor who taught him varying degrees of exploring the media. Dominick Labino also met Lipofsky there, and together they shared information, lessons and creative ideas.

Creative Glass by Marvin Lipofsky - Photography by Chris Miller

Later on, he took up tenure at the the University of California, Berkeley up until 1972. John Lewis and Richard Marquis were among the students who were able to learn under Lipofsky's guiding hand. He became a well-travelled workshop instructor as well, traveling as far off as Japan, Spain and the Netherlands. This didn't mean that he had abandoned doing seminars locally though. He had also instructed many students at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood and the Columbus College of Art and Design.

In 1967, He founded and headed a university's formal glass program (California College of Arts and Crafts). He also founded the Glass Art Society, where he became president for two years. He was also famous for being one of the pioneer glass artisans to travel to Czechoslovakia.

His work when described, could be considered as rather colorful and truly organic in structure. Dan Klein described his art as visceral and gestural. Lipofsky preferred to create his glass works in partial translucency and contour them into curvaceous shapes such as bubbles and irregular objects. Glassblowing was his to conquer with his adamant skills and talents. He garnered many awards for his passion, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass in Chicago, as well as two National Endowment for the Arts grants in 1974 and 76'. His works can currently be found at many locations spread across the United States and other countries. He has art pieces at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto (Japan).
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Ng Eng Teng : The Grandfather of Singaporean Sculpture

Thursday, February 10, 2011 1 comments
Singaporean artist Ng Eng Teng was well known for his legacy of figure-shaped sculptures, including themes such as maternal love and human emotion. Forever remembered as the grandfather of sculpture in Singapore's culture, he lived up to the name ever since his human creativity began. In 1934, Ng was a child who loved to play with plasticine. He would make figures out of the material and shape miniature artworks in his play sessions. The young Ng graduated from his Senior Cambridge exams in 1955 and together with fellow artist Liu Kang, went to the British Council to take classes of painting and sculpture. In 1959, Jean Vullock introduced Ng to ciment fondu, a novelty medium at the time.

Sculpture by Ng Eng Teng, Picture taken by Marcus Lim

Studying at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Georgette Chen often invited him to talk about art at her home. There, Ng would find himself amazed by the aesthetic beauty of the ceramic displays. Chen realized that the Singapore she knew did not house any notable sculptor at the time. She told Ng that because of his talent and his fluency with the English language, he should seek to become a pioneer in this artistic field for Singapore. Heeding her advice, Ng left Singapore for the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent in England after he graduated. He also later worked at the Carrigaline Pottery in County Cork as an industrial designer. His designs were often exhibited at the Arts and Crafts Centre of Britain and at various Spring Fairs.

Eventually, after making a name for himself, he came back to Singapore to set up a potter workshop and teach ceramics to the local youths. He also wanted to provide support for his family by doing so. Initially he had wanted to set upa  workshop at his alma matter; the Nanyang Academy, however he was rejected by the Academy's administration, so he set up his workshop elsewhere with the help of his father. Despite their good efforts, profit was very little and Ng soon had to seek employment to pay the bills. His friend Vincent Hoisington had recommended him to the International Planned Parenthood Federation in 1968 where he worked for over a year as a visual aids personnel.

In 1970, Ng had his first solo 5-day exhibition held at the lecture hall of the National Library. Since that exhibition, Ng's career skyrocketed and he became known as a well-deserving artist all over Singapore and Australia. He was given the Cultural Medallion Award in 1981 by his country; Singapore. 1988 proved to be an interesting year for Ng as well. He met up with the director of the Paris Arts Centre who acted as the representative of the Olympic Selection Commitee at the time. Ng was commissioned to do a work for the Olympics in Seoul. They eventually agreed on replicating Ng's piece entitled "Portrait" as a larger artwork. This was used in the Olympic ceremony, making Ng a worldwide accomplished sculptor.

He received the Patronage Award from the Singapore Art Museum in 2001. He was also presented several other awards, because of his generous donation of paintings, drawings, pottery and sculptures to the museum. Ng was remembered as a pioneer of sculpture for Singapore, and to this day, lasts in the memory of young and old sculptors alike who wish they could follow in his footsteps and bring greatness to the Singaporean art world.
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An Introduction to Henry Moore : A Timeless Abstract Sculptor

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 5 comments
Born on July 30, 1898 in Castleford, West Yorkshire, the English artist Henry Spencer Moore eventually went on to become one of the world's leading creative minds on the theme of abstract sculpture. His monuments of bronze and metals highlight the landscape of several art galleries, museums and sculpture parks across the globe. Moore began his fond interest for sculpture at an early age in his home town. He would constantly be seen playing with modeling clay and carving small designs out of wood. He decided that he wanted to become a great sculptor at the age of 11 when he was introduced to the history of a great sculptor: Michelangelo.

Henry Moore's "Two Piece Reclining Figure"
Photography by Andrew Dunn
At school, his talent and interest was fostered by his teachers, who granted him a scholarhip to Castleford Secondary School. His parents however, did not agree with the young man's ambition to pursue a full-time sculpting career, so in time Moore began a career as a teacher at the school he studied in. He also joined the army soon after that. He was one of the youngest participants in the Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles Regiment, but was injured during a gas attack in the Battle of Cambrai (1917). He eventually found his war-time experience to be beneficial to his career as an artist though. They granted him a way to continue his education and become the first student of sculture at the Leeds College of Art. There he met many famous sculptors and became good friends with many of them. He also won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London, where he studied extensively about primitive art and the Victorian style of romanticism in sculpture. Moore later on had a clash with his teacher- his method of carving involved leaving the natural scratchmark and toolmark from carving as part of the piece's finishing. This methodology was too modern for the professors at the college. Despite this, nothing hampered his desire to grow as a modernist sculptor.

Henry Moore's "Reclining Figure"
Photography by Andrew Dunn

Eventually, after spending time via another sculpture grant in Italy. Moore returned to London and became a teacher at the Royal College of Art. There, he married Irina Radetsky, a painting student. They later moved to Hampstead and joined a small groud of modernist artists.

In 1932, Moore became Head of the Sculpture Department at the Chelsea School of Art. Moore and several other sculptors playfully experimented with influences from Surrealism and other art movements, but this was called to a halt at the outbreak of World War II. Moore was commissioned to be a war artist and did several powerful artworks depicting the turmoil going around.  After their home was hit by a bomb, they moved to a place called Hoglands near Hertfordshire. During these years, Moore had a daughter- Mary Moore, named after his mother. His subjects then took a turn towards depicting family life. He later exhibited at the MoMA in New York City. This was followed by several achievements like the International Sculpture Prize at the Venice Biennale, the Companion of Honor (1955) and the Order of Merit (1963). He even turned down knighthood because he thought it might separate him from his place with the local artists.

Henry Moore's "Hill Arches"
Photography by John O' Neill

Despite his humility, by the late 1930's Henry Moore overshadowed all other modern sculptors who aspired to reach his level of achievement. He became the "Voice of British Sculpture" and his legacy would then be immortalized like the lasting sculptures he produced during his time.
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A Look Into the Work of Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder a.k.a Sandy was an American Sculptor whose name became most famous for his invention of a particular form of kinetic sculpture: 'the mobiles'. Although not limited to this specific way of doing sculpture, Calder excelled at it the most, creating stunningly beautiful hanging monuments. Both his father and grandfather were also sculptors who were famous themselves, while his mother was a portrait painter. Calder's very first sculpture of a clay elephant was completed in 1902. His family home in Pasadena, California held a cellar which eventually became his very first art studio. in 1909 Calder created one of his very first kinetic sculptures; a duck made out of sheet brass which rocked back and forth when touched. Calder eventually went on to study Mechanical at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. Later on in his youth, Calder decided to move to New York and become a real visual artist. He enrolled at the Art Students' League and worked for the National Police Gazette. One of his assignments was to sketch a Ringling Brothers' Circus, and that project got him deeply fascinated with the subject. in 1962, Calder moved to Paris and began trying his creativity at toy making. It was there he made his Cirque Calder a portable circus which filled up about five suitcases. It allowed him to give performances similar to a real circus enactment. This gave rise to his popularity as a toymaker and unconventional artist. In 1929, Calder held his very fist solo show at the Galerie Billiet in Paris. This consisted mostly of wire sculptures he had fashioned into original designs. In 1931, he eventually moved into creating more aero-inclined sculptures, gaining the kinetic energy they needed by utilizing natural flowing air currents from the surroundings. Duchamp eventually called these curious works "mobiles"; a French Pun meaning both "motive" and "mobile". The 1950's led Calder to produce more monument-sized works to quench his thirst for creativity. Most of his works rose to about 24 meters tall and some employed his kinetic style of motion as well. After completing many notable works, Calder published his autobiography in 1966. One of his famous works was WTC Stabile (also known as Bent Propeller) which was stationed in front of the World Trade Center's North Tower in America (1971)

Additional Resources Can be Found at the The Calder Foundation
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Drawing a History from the Great Sculptors of the Renaissance

Monday, February 7, 2011 1 comments
What does the word Renaissance mean? Its definition correspondingly refers to the term “rebirth” and the reason why this time in history was called as such is because art historians found out that society during this period re-submerged itself in the classical and secular undertakings that were done away with in the past. Renaissance sculptures reflected mainly on classical antiquity, giving rise to many master such as Donatello di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (Donatello’s real name) and Andrea del Verrocchio. Both of these men were Florentine artists. Donatello’s prime masterpiece was the sculpture of David. Standing at five feet tall in solid bronze, he made it for the Medici family of Italy’s famous history. The sculpture was later erected at the Palazzo Medici as the first human-sized nude sculpture piece since Antiquity. Verrocchio, for his part, was an accomplished painter and sculptor whose works certainly rivaled the great Donatello. He was made even more famous however, for being the teacher of another young artist we all know- Leonardo De Vinci.

Growing from the area of Florence, Italy in the 15th century, the Renaissance movement extended on to the north, reaching the Alps during the early 16th century. There was a huge desire to move beyond the old ways of thinking and drive art back into the high standards of Greek and Roman art.
Common subjects during the Renaissance period (aside from religious art) were young greek male figures, nude and proportioned to proper anatomical perspective. Other artists also deviated and turned to human emotion and/or suffering as a prime subject for depicting sculpture, such are some works by Michelangelo- “Young Slave, for the tomb of Julius II” made in 1520 at Florence, and “Prisoner”; a sculpture thought to be depicting the titan Atlas, which was also made for the tomb of Julius II.
Philosophy played a significant role in the development of humanism as a way of viewing artistic endeavors. The subject selection at the time prioritized human beings and human life over other important aspects such as religion. This type of art placed man at the center focus of things.
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