JERRY GOROSKI is the consultant appraisar to whom I refer inquiries about Scriver bronzes. He is formally trained and certified to do assessments and knew Bob Scriver as well as working for the CM Russell Museum in Great Falls. His gallery is called "Open Range Art."


Friday, October 21, 2005

Sculpture Review, Fall, 2005

(Theme: Simplicity of Form)

There are only five articles in this magazine, which is about usual, but each of them is inspired and each of them relates to form in unexpected ways, so that the “synergy” is immense.

“Aztec Empire” presents alarming and yet somehow familiar monolithic figures, often with obsessively elaborate surface patterns -- almost brocaded. In addition are Halloween portraits of gobbling gods with their livers hanging out from under their ribs. One man, who appears to be covered with Post-It notes, turns out to have attached skin bits of a flayed slave, affixed to indicate the greening patches of spring. Skulls, teeth, and staring eyes are not what we would think of as “simple” maybe, but they certainly convey the simple fact of human flesh: vulnerable, horrible, suffering and ecstatic.

“Brancusi and Noguchi” balances abstraction against representation. Thumbed, blunt, minimal detail still somehow manages to contain personality and even recognizable persons. Brancusi takes minimalism so close to non-existence that tiny mineral flaws in the alabaster medium become significant and descriptive. They are like ghosts, souls, and yet -- because alabaster can be so like human flesh -- emotional. Noguchi makes two busts in bronze, nearly abstracted to featurelessness, but still somehow recognizable as George Gershwin and Buckminster Fuller (chrome plated).

“The Expression of Cleo Hartwig” shows portraits of women cut from stone, rather stylized, suggestive of some Native American work in the Southwest or, as she mentioned, Inuit (Eskimo) art.

“Luisa Granero” also does nudes, some of them in “caliza stone” which appears to be a kind of limestone and some in clay These are far more gestural and human looking women, round and strong in a classical way. Most are solitary figures, absorbed in their pursuits, but I especially liked the two small figures leaning together in “El Beso,” “The Kiss.”

“Simplicity of Form” by Nina Costanza, presents a series of figures -- all recognizable and all very different from each other. “Anemone” by Lorrie Goulet is coral-pink alabaster, curled on itself. “Maya” by Jose DeCreeft is black Belgian granite for a strong black face. “Small Goddess” by Betty Branch is a bronze just over a foot tall, a seated Venus with no arms or head, she is all butt and thighs in the manner of someone with a lot of estrogen and heft. The rest of the figures are all female, if you will accept a mother fox. The terrific turkey illustrating the table of contents didn’t make it into the story. I hope we meet it somewhere else.

In view of the great number of nudes, I was pleased to see an advertisement for anatomy figures, not just ecorche (skinned) but also with magnetic removable parts and deep muscle anatomy. Also, armature templates which I would think would be a wonderful advantage. Nothing is worse than laboring over a figure only to discover that a wire pokes through in the wrong place. $169 and up -- cheap at the price.

But if you haven’t got that much money on hand, the very next page over offers a $38 spiral-bound book of proportions: how long is a nose, what about an upper lip? Between which points ought one to measure anyway? These measurements are even more crucial for the faint hints on something like Brancusi heads.

I get as fascinated by the ads as I am by the stories -- which, of course, the advertisers hope will happen! The dino bronze across from the index just knocks me out! “Torosaurus Latis,” 21 feet long, 11 feet tall, mouth gaping, fabulous horns and shield ruff, beautiful blue-green patina -- oh, my! It you put it in your garden, you wouldn’t HAVE a garden because everyone would trample it in their efforts to touch this monster. Luckily, it’s going to the Peabody Museum at Yale. In its simplest form, of course, it was bones with the merest indications that it might look like this.

Giancarlo Biagi writes wonderful editorials, as one would expect from someone capable of editing in this tender but inexhaustible way. And I’ve begun to wonder how many years Ghandi has been walking quietly along on behalf of New Arts Foundry. He’s come to be a familiar friend.

My usual quibble is that I’ve had to take a hi-liter to the captions so that I can refer back and forth between figure and title without losing my place.

No comments: