In today’s technologically driven world, sculpture offers us an opportunity to understand the very core of human nature. It unites us through its glimpse of one’s inner self – giving us a shared feeling that we are all alike.
The human condition is an intricate subject that encompasses growth, emotions, aspiration, conflict and mortality. While all artists are familiar with this theme, few take into account its implications when creating artworks.
A Unique Experience
Sculpture is one of the oldest forms of art, created from hard and plastic materials to create three-dimensional artworks. Throughout history, sculpture has been used to explore human condition and express it in different ways.
One of the primary uses for sculpture is to express emotion. Sculptures can convey beauty, despair or even fear to their audience members through powerful visual effects. A great sculpture will undoubtedly stir up strong reactions within them.
Drawing can also be seen as an exercise in creating balance or harmony. Skilled sculptors utilize various techniques to craft their pieces, such as cutting, molding, assembling, casting, welding and more.
Another essential aspect of sculpture is its tactile quality. Unlike painting, which relies solely on optical illusion to convey space, sculpture has a tangible quality which can even captivate those with vision impairments.
Three-dimensional sculpture is composed of two types: planar and mass or volume. Planes are flat surfaces within artworks that project from walls or floors and can be created using materials like foam core or sheet metal. Mass or volume on the other hand is an enclosed and independent three-dimensional entity that occupies its own space.
Sculpting can be created using a variety of materials such as clay, plaster, metals, fabric, glass and wood. Depending on the artist’s preferences and interests these components may be combined to form various shapes.
No matter who creates it – an individual or a collective – there is always an emotional connection to the object created. Artists can draw inspiration from life experiences or simply admire nature’s beauty.
Some artists create their work to elicit emotions, while others aim to challenge viewers’ perceptions of reality. Some of the most renowned artists have achieved both.
The Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin recently unveiled a show of sculptures that explore human emotion. Spanning three galleries and featuring 119 works from 35 different artists, these pieces range from terracotta and porcelain to massive lifelike figures.
A Symbolic Enrichment
Sculpture is an expressive visual that occupies the same space as its viewers. The art form has been used to symbolize politics, society, history, religion, rituals and memorial tributes alike.
Sculpture is an expressive medium that evolves over time and space, offering us a unique perspective into human condition that paintings cannot provide. This symbolic depth gives sculpture its unique charm and allows us to take part in it in ways other media cannot.
Enrichment of the mind is a natural outcome of how our brains work, and can be observed in both ancient engravings and contemporary sculpture. For instance, an archaeological team recently examined engraved ochre and ostrich eggshell fragments found in South Africa’s Blombos Cave and Diepkloof Rock Shelter that date back approximately 100,000 years.
Researchers conducted a comparison between experts and non-experts who viewed real engravings and unintentional markings that resembled engravings. They discovered that both groups activated areas in the visual cortex, which are responsible for organizing visual representations and giving them symbolic value.
Experts’ brains were more sensitive to markings than non-experts’, likely because they are more familiar with the process of carving a real carving and thus faster at recognizing accidental engravings that appear similar.
Researching sculptures within a research project is beneficial because it helps us comprehend their making processes and influences how we interpret certain works by certain sculptors.
Another way a sculpture can be symbolic is by personifying an abstract idea such as wisdom, justice, temperance or fortitude. This type of personification often appears in medieval and Renaissance sculpture but can also be found in modern artworks.
Personification of animals has been a popular theme in public sculpture throughout history. Notable examples include the lion and eagle, both iconic examples.
Personification is also often employed in religious contexts, where an object may symbolize either cardinal virtues or theological virtues. This type of representation serves to represent a group’s beliefs and values through symbolic representation.
Sculpture is one of the more challenging art forms to master. Unlike painting and drawing, which require more intuitive skills, sculpture necessitates a great deal of skill, dedication to the subject matter, an understanding of physics that allows you to manipulate objects in 3-dimensional space for desired effects. Furthermore, sculpture requires an acute appreciation for human form.
Sculpture presents not only an aesthetic challenge, but also social and ethical ones. During the Renaissance, many renowned sculptors such as Auguste Rodin and Bruce Nauman sought to redefine human form through their works. Pieces like Walking Man I and Tall Woman II reveal a profound understanding of human psychology that may be disconcerting to casual observers.
Lisa Rosenstein has created a series of works that emphasize the fragile nature of life. By manipulating an everyday material into stunningly beautiful and soothing pieces, she conveys an inspiring message of renewal through material transcendence. She urges viewers to reflect upon their place within this ever-shifting world while offering hope as humanity faces this pandemic and recognizes the need for new paths forward. This exhibition offers viewers a glimmer of hope as humanity strives towards finding its way forward.