Pierre Granche and the Geometry of Abstractions

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 0 comments
A notable public arts sculptor; Pierre Granche was very popular in the art community of Quebec for his works in the field of combining sculptural art with the fundamentals of architecture. Mainly working with aluminum as his primary material, Granche exhibits a unique style that bases on geometrical tendencies in abstraction. He prefers the rigid, poly-sided orientations over smooth curvatures or organic shapes.  Granche studied at the École de Beaux-Arts de Montréal and the Université de Vincennes in Paris, honing his sculptural skills to obtain a degree of great capability in metalsmithing and abstract conceptualizing.

Sculpture by Pierre Granche - Photography by François Proulx

Granche's public art has been seen in London (Canada Memorial in Green Park), Montreal (Systeme Sculpture in Namur), and many other locations around the world. His work Totem; was also exhibited at the McCord Museum in Montreal. Some of his skyline-type of works hang overhead with a certain degree of playfulness when it comes to lighting. His Systeme sculpture in Namur is comprised of several geometrically shaped aluminum polygons thar hang above the transit way. The artwork reflects light that bounces off any movement in the area, and for a transportation system, blinking lights are virtually everywhere.
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Seymour Lipton and Abstract Expressionism

Born on November 6 1903, Seymour Lipton was someone who did not initially plan to become a sculptor, but did so eventually in an admirable leap of career. He actually studied to be a dentist, training in dexterity and the accurate usage of finer tools. In 1932 though, he decided to switch his main focus to sculpture instead. He moved from media to media, specializing in wood, then lead, then eventually settling with bronze. He is a passionate abstract expressionist who is definitely well known today for many of his exquisite bronze and metal sculptures. Lipton also made several contributions to the world of sculpting techniques as well. He discovered that brazing nickel-silver rods onto Monel sheets could create rust-resistant surfaces.

Sculpture by Seymour Lipton - Photography by Ser Amantio di Nicolao

Lipton selects the themes of his art forms by drawing inspiration from natural things such as flight, and man-made chaos such as war. The photograph above was of Lipton's 1957 Winter Solstice II made of his specialty nickel-silver on monel sheet. It is currently at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. As an abstract expressionist sculptor, his compositional style varies a bit from piece to piece, but one may notice his chaotic drive in some works that may be attributed to his inspiration (war). Lipton's works are usually random in contour, but his media's unique properties make use of his flared protrusions and curving shapes in a good way. They reflect light through the shapes and convey a beautiful and interesting composition as a whole.
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Tony Rosenthal's Monumental Art Style

If you've ever seen the Alamo sculpture at the Astor Place in Manhattan, New York, then you're like to have heard of Tony Rosenthal, the public sculptor. Rosenthal's work is most often with large scaled abstractions that are quite basic in shape, but very distinct in style. His use of geometrical fundamentals adds in the overall beauty of every one of his projects.

Sculpture by Tony Rosenthal Photography by David Shakbone

Rosenthal was born on August 9, 1914 at Highland Park, Illinois. Like many American sculptors, he did undergo formal schooling at art schools, starting with the famous Art Institute of Chicago in 1932. Shortly after, he also attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he graduated with a B.A. In 1939, he went to the Cranbrook Academy of Art and studied with artist Carl Miles. After all these years of education, he served for a period of time in the US Army and even acquired the title of commander. Rosenthal decided to become a teacher after his years of service because he wanted to pass on the knowledge given to him through all his years of studying.

Many of his public sculptures today are widely appreciated by American citizens around the nation. His sculpture Rondo at the 59th Street off Park Avenue is a frequently remembered display by visitors. Big Six, a sculpture he completed in 1975 is resident art piece of the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia. Rosenthal's masterpieces were meant to be in the public view because that's how he sees them fit. He desires for art to become a communal thing, shared in the essence of society and its history.
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Richard Serra and his Minimalist Abstractions

Monday, March 21, 2011 0 comments
Serra created his very first sculptures in the late 1960's. He made use of materials such as fiber glass and rubber, a simple combination that would eventually lead him to discover more innovative applications in his later years. Now known for his minimalist beauty, Serra previously installed several works of art around the world, such as the Tilted Arc in New York City's Federal Plaza and Snake, permanently located at the largest gallery of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Many people tend to describe his sculptural style as an elegant distortion of planes. He tends to use many flat surfaces that can either be straight or curved, to display an array of complementary elegance to one another. His simplicity in design gives even more reason to his theme of minimalism, however many of his artworks are created on a grand scale, encompassing a large area.

In 2001, the MoMA or Museum of Modern Art actually presented some of Serra's sculptural work in its New York location. there were around five works of his that were set on display, including Torqued Eclipse IV which he did in 1998 and Intersection II which he did in 1993. Serra fondly takes into consideration the different perspectives and viewing angles that go with his works. He likes to play around with the contour of the objects when seen from other spatial points. A fun fact from the artist's history reveals that his sculpture "Out-of-Round X" was used as a cover for a musical album called Monoliths and Dimensions by a famous drone band. Serra had several recognitions for his artist's passion, including a feature on BBC and an honorary degree for Fine Arts from William College. His works, though basic in their foundation and conception, have found their way into the hearts of many art enthusiasts because of their sublime beauty and relaxed orientation.
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David Reekie : Sketch Artist and Contemporary Glassmaker

Sunday, March 20, 2011 1 comments
Glass has always been a tricky media, because of its material traits and difficulty in handling. Throughout the years many glass sculptors have found it hard to stretch the spectrum of their subject matter, today however, there are those who seek to bring the art medium of glass into a contemporary frontier.

David Reekie has exhibited his sketched art and glass creations at several museums around the globe, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. He also maintains many collections in various locations spanning the UK's art societies. Reekie's love of drawing initially fed his creative desire to portray the human condition, but eventually it also led him to find a new love; the creation of cast glass. Today, Reekie uses both media to convey caricatures of satirical humor and an expression of the external forces that shape human life. Reekie's art was also inspired by his childhood activities of watching television shows like Forbidden Planet. One of Reekie's artful messages to us is the comparison of man's routinized lifestyle to a robot's mindless behavior.

Reekie uses an adapted method of casting glass- the lost wax process. He also adds a bit of his own tried and tested techniques to this age old way of casting glass. His kiln time and annealing process can take up to ten and seven days respectfully. He also paints a type of vitreous enamel inside the still damp mold to give the glass material its original exterior later on. Reekie's latest project was a solo exhibition hosted by Dan Klein Associates and was entitled An Exchange of Information. Humanshaped glass heads and ceramic birds allow Reekie to showcase both a sense of surrelism and a pinch of humor at the same time by illustrating the gap between subjects in existence.

-Sculptures by David Reekie
-All Photography (2) by Pamela Gardiner
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Peter Van Dievoet's Classical Sculpture

Monday, March 14, 2011 1 comments
Van Dievoet's intricate classicism during the 16th century was a demonstration of old-style mastery and detailed masonry. His portrayal of famous personalities like King James II was well known throughout England. Born in Brussels, Van Dievoet was was at the church of Sainte-Gudule midyear in 1661. His brother; Philippe Van Dievoet had a link in art history as well, being the formal goldsmith of Louis XIV.

Peter Van Dievoet was a passionate sculptor, whose talent became quickly noticed by King James II during a period when he was residing in Van Dievoet's locale. He took the sculptor's artistry to his fancy and decisively took him to London with him when he returned.

James II Statue by Peter Van Dievoet - Photography by Fin Fahey

While Van Dievoet was in London in the late 1680's he honored his patron by creating a fine sculpture at St. James Park. He was also considered as a frequent visitor of the Grinling Gibbons studio as well, having a distinct interest in the fine art of casting sculpture. After the revolution, the returned to his hometown of Brussels where he continued to pursue his craftsmanship. He was also one of the artists who created the new Grand-Place in a baroque mannerist style.

Van Dievoet's life as as a sculptor exhibited some of the historical influences observable in parts of Belgium and England in the earlier periods of classical mannerism. Sculpture used to be an isolated genre that spoke through detail, accuracy and portrayals of the concrete world. Nowadays, with the emergence of contemporary, modern, minimalist and kinetic sculptures, we still have to remember where our artistry originated from.
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René Lalique and the Legendary Glass

Sunday, March 6, 2011 0 comments
Lalique today is a very well-known name in the glass craft industry. Born in Ay, a small village in France, the young Lalique drew much of his influence from the frequent trips back to his home town. His naturalistic style of sculpting glass creations is a frequent sight in many of the Lalique boutiques around the world. He studied art all his life, since his time at the College Turgot to the evening classes at the Ecole des arts décoratifs and the two years at Sydenham Art College. Lalique trained as a goldsmite and jeweller at first, moving around work areas like Cartier and Boucheron honing his skills. in the late 1800's Lalique was already seen as one of France's leading designers of Art Nouveau. He also moved on to become one of the top artists in the Art Deco style, further adding to his popularity as a designer. As a glass maker, he was unparallelled by rivals. The line of artistry also continued on to his daughter Marie Claude Lalique, who followed diligently in his footsteps.

I believe that what makes the creations of the Lalique family so inspiring is their play of elegance using the unique traits of glass. Light, reflections and finishes are always combined in the perfect way with every glass creation that comes out of their process. These days, the brand of glass that Lalique has strived to achieve is directly synonymous to quality and creativity in the highest grade.
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