It is suggested in out course notes that we should do some research about artists that use casting and molding techniques in their work to help influence and guide our experiments through the exercises for this part of the course.
I have started by researching the suggested artists on the Internet and looked for books related to the artists.
Our course notes state: Eduard Paolozzi (1924 – 2005). Many sculptors use molding and casting to achieve forms but Paolozzi, a Scottish born sculptor and artist, created interesting detailed abstract reliefs using machine parts in a kind of three dimensional collage. Works include Head of Inventionmand the ventilation tower near Pimlico tube station in London.
Born to Italian parents in Edinburgh in 1924, Eduardo Paolozzi studied at the Edinburgh college of art, St Martin’s School of Art and finally the Slade School of Art in Oxford before studying abroad.
His work is very varied in technique and includes collage, sculpture, painting, ceramics, film making and textiles. He quite often used reused materials and found objects starting as a young boy keeping scrapbooks and becoming very well known later for his collages. However, it is his sculpture pieces involving casting that is of most interest to me at this point in the course:
Large frog 1958. Bronze, 73 x 83 x 83 cm British Council Collection
This sculpture uses found objects pressed into clay to create an impression on the surface of the piece when cast in first wax then bronze. This is typical in the sculptures he made and creates a fascinating surface. I really like the way that the different textures create the mouth of the frog. It almost reminds me of a futuristic city on stilts.
The lost-wax technique he employed to create these textures is very interesting: ‘He developed a technique of pressing found objects such as machine parts and toys into a bed of clay which would then be cast in wax, before being cast in bronze’.(http://pallant.org.uk/). This was obviously a highly skilled technique which I could not attempt to replicate myself during this course but it does throw up a few possibilities in my mind. For instance a similar surface might be achieved by pressing items into clay then taking a mold of this with latex and then making a cast with resin or plaster?
Metamorphosis of rubbish standing figure, 1958, height 88cm Pallet house gallery (Wilson loan, 2006) This sculpture again uses the lost wax technique. I really like these textures, they link really nicely with my love of using found objects and I would cartainly like to try creating similar textures in this section of the course.
Sources & further reading:
Eduardo Paolozzi, by Judith Collins Publisher:Lund Humphries; New edition edition (27 Oct. 2014)
Nigel Henderson & Eduardo Paolozzi: Hammer Prints Ltd. 1954 – 75 Hardcover Publisher: firstsite (13 Aug. 2012)
Victoria Ferrand Scott
According to our course notes Ferrand Scott uses the forces of gravity, elasticity and pressure to cast flowing and bulging forms using concrete and latex. Pouring the materials into fabrics and shaping them using wrapping or hanging.
The forms themselves are fluid and her work has been described many times as sensual. I love this use of a traditionally hard and masculine material to create such fluidity, it really makes her work stand out and is highly unusual and fascinating.
Drawn 2010 – Sculpture, dimensions 12cm x 51cm x 54cm – described on http://www.axisweb.org as: ‘An abstract sculpture with strong organic and visceral qualities, cast in coloured concrete.’ I love the fluid nature of this piece it in someway reminds me of castings I have seen of ant nests in the past where the casting material flows into the tunnels dug by the ants. I also really like the sheen achieved on this piece and the way it catches the light.
Ferrand Scott explained why she switched from plaster to concrete in an article for leverhulme.ac.uk: ‘My progression from plaster to concrete allowed me a longer curing time in which to manipulate the forms, greater potential strength and a whole host of variables in terms of the mix. It is these variables that I would initially like to explore, addressing ways of reducing weight without compromising form; increasing fluidity but maintaining strength; eradicating air bubbles; controlling colour and surface; increasing scale etc.’ In the above piece you can quite easily see why she would decide this. The colour and surface is by far superior to that of plaster.
Compress and Expand, 2008 – Sculpture, dimensions each approximately 20cm x 44cm x 26cm
This piece I find rather more disturbing, it makes me think of removed body parts for some reason! I do however like the markings achieved in the polished concrete and the way the shape was made by restricting the material within a space.
‘Sculptural practice is akin to alchemy. The artist brings together material and process to engage in a journey; the final piece revealing both the sum of the path and future possibility.’ – Victoria Ferrand Scott.
Sources & further reading:
In our coursenotes we are introduced to Rachel Whiteread and told: ‘Rachel Whiteread is an artist and sculptor who has made a career of casting the internal spaces of everyday places and objects. In 1993 she famously cast the inside of a Victorian terraced house due to be pulled down. The piece named House, revealed a ghostly presence of the space that no longer existed.’
As a project ‘House’ was short lived and contraversial as demonstrated by the picture above. I really love the idea of exploring internal spaces that we may take for granted and find this work beautiful and compelling. It was created by spraying the internal space with liquid concrete before it’s external walls were removed. It makes me think of all the people who lived in that house over the generations that it stood, all experiencing the internal space of the house whilst those walking by only got to see the external. I think it is a shame that it was torn down. I feel it should still be standing as a monument to past generations’ social history. However I suppose short lived and fleeting memories of it carry on just like the memories of the original space carry on with the people who lived there.
‘Detached’ a series of sheds and small buildings cast in a similar way to ‘House’ are a further development in her work. In the Guardian’s article from the 6th April 2013 Whiteread us quoted as saying it was a shame that the work (House) “didn’t have the chance to become invisible, the way architecture becomes invisible.’ Detached is seen by many as her finally exploring that part of the sculpture. I really like the non descript sheds in this series. I doubt many would notice them without them being pointed out. They blend in, unnoticed in to the landscape. Her work makes us think about the unnoticed, the hidden and the every day in a different way.
Sources & Further reading:
Rachel Whiteread. Modern Artists Series Paperback – Illustrated, 20 Apr 2004
by Charlotte Mullins Publisher: TATE GALLERY PUBLISHING Ltd
The Art of Rachel Whiteread Paperback – 8 Nov 2004 by Chris Townsend & Jennifer R. Cross Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd
Rachel Whiteread: Embankment (Unilever Series) Paperback – Illustrated, 1 Jan 2006 By Rachel Whiteread. Publisher: Harry N Abrams Inc
Rachel Whiteread: Shedding Life Paperback by F. Bradley. TATE GALLERY PUBLISHING Ltd
Rebecca is my tutor on this course, in the course notes she is described as: ‘a textile artist and researcher with a broad interest in materials and material manipulation. by exploiting concrete’s form-finding behavior, she creates tactile and intriguing surfaces using knits, plastics and fabrics as molds.
I really enjoy looking at the surfaces Rebecca creates especially those formed using imprints of knitted textile. Being the daughter of a professional knitter it never ceases to amaze me how far a traditional craft can be taken forward with a lot of imagination and experiment. I work in a garden centre which sells a lot of concrete landscaping materials and ornaments and would love to see some more variation in use and design in the commercial sector.
Again the use of such a traditionally masculine material works so well with the traditionally female fabrics Rebecca uses to mold it in ie. Knitted or crocheted fabrics. I will certainly be trying to capture textures throughout this project using different materials.
Sources & further reading:
Described in our coursenotes as a printmaker and sculptor who takes elemental forms of the natural & manmade world by stacking, stringing, layering, knotting and weaving into 3 dimensional sculpture.
Losing touch with reality is such a mix of media. Cast hands hover over a layer of turf. Presumably as the turf grew the hands would again be in touch with the grass. I really like the idea of using of a growing material. It could lead to some very exciting changes in a piece throughout it’s lifespan. A very interesting thought for the future and an avenue that I may have to persue at some point in the future.
Susan’s website (susanbenarcik.com) descibes this piece as: ‘Mental Notes is a sculptural installation and metaphor for layers of information collecting in our minds. Layered stories, imagery, notations, knowledge tucked away for future use. Thirty forms ranging in length, weight, and color, are made of discarded books, collected by friends and strangers, stacked on copper wires, they sway ever so slightly in each space.’ I can really relate to this piece. I am a frenetic note and list writer. I find sometimes it is helpful but mostly unhelpful and possibly unhealthy as I am sure it places too much stress on me. I wish I had somewhere to store all my mental notes, ideas and to do’s but these stack really do remind me of my brain at times!
On a slightly off topic note I really like Susan’s natural nest like sculptures made from natural materials such as these below:
Heliophilous (attracted to sunlight) I like the use of the spiral and floating layer of wire around the inner ‘seed pod’ the shadows cast on the behind the piece are amazing. The piece really works well with the light.
Residence Pods. Again the shadows cast by these pieces seem integral to the piece.This group of pods would work really well in a natural environment just as they do in the modern clinical setting of the gallery.
Sources & further reading
All in all I have found all these artists inspirational. I hope that their work will help me with the this section of the course and feed into my ideas to help me produce some interesting samples and outcomes.