TURNING DREAMS INTO BRONZE

6 06 2012

 PORTRAIT OF NICK

The story of this portrait is probably most unusual and has more depth  for  me than anyone else.  Our story started officially on June 3d. But it began a year before that. I have no intention of boring you with details of how I met Nick – but the truth is  it was   an accidental unexpected stroke of  simple destiny.  The suddenness, the beauty and the poetry of it –   will stay with me forever.  Instant bond.  He had this inexplicable capacity to bring the best in people.  Our connection ignited into a wonderful exchange of moments where we would literally finish each other’s thoughts.

On our first trip on Roamer III – he  invited me for lunch. Lunch was an hour away by water  from Marina Del Rey to Redondo Beach.  In  a warm California day in June, there is no better place to be than on water off the coast. The ocean  at this time of the year  is dark blue with playful ripples  as far as the eyes can see.  The coolness of the water, maintaining the steady 64 degrees Farenheit  offsets the summer heat. This extravagant gesture was meant to impress me – and that it did ! Magnificent ocean  views aside – on a purely intellectual level, I  always had a fascination of Motor Yachts  as well – their compact design, the aerodynamic grace, with which they are seeming gliding  on the surface, while reaching depths to preserve balance. The  inherent wisdom of their utility, where nothing must be in excess, except quality – the fine balance between necessities and  luxuries. The lack of space was complimented by high quality of craftsmanship and ingenuous design. Like a giant jewelry box  – everything in Roamer  III was well maintained, despite the fact that she was ready to be retired.

I was very new at Yachting – and fascinated immensely – being at awe of the ocean to begin with.  Roamer III was a lady. What a brave adventurer she was – a wanderer.  She could be tosses left and right – but always maintained balance.  (I believe it has a lot to do with technology on board.)  Roamer and I were quickly became best friends.  I loved the way the engine hummed away  – while gliding    through the surface of the water making its way towards the breakers.  I had to learn the terminology – ‘top deck’  ‘starboard’ and ‘port’  – and  at some point I even graduated to navigating it for an hour   in open ocean and was able to dock Roamer back into her slot, without wrecking it !

That particular day – it was a beautiful day in  June  9th  in early 2000  –  on top deck , on our way to Redondo Beach  – I observed him very carefully . It was sheer joy to see Nick navigate or dock his 75 foot ‘Princess’,  with focused and precise movements, that came  so naturally to him.  His profile was so distinctively British and hansome with the unruly long hair and bronzed skin. There was a remarkable unity between the color of his Celtic blue eyes and the color of the Pacific ocean at that moment. I    marveled the moment   –  while he watched me  be enthralled with the school of dolphins, that were  racing  the yacht.  I  wanted to remember this moment forever.  He  looked incredibly content in his reserved quiet kind of  way – given away only by the glimmer in his blue eyes!  I took some photos. This moment – the ocean, with all its blue power ,  the joy  of dancing dolphins,  Nick with  his boundless passion for yachting and me – all in one place  – will stay with me until my last day .

In the summer of 2005, I was getting ready for an art  show and I wanted to make a sculpture portrait of  Nick  as a surprise. The thought stayed with me for a long time. It always takes me a while before I make a decision to sculpt or paint someone close. In spring 2005 I finally started. I decided to  use water based clay, because it allowed me to work faster and achieve a more spontaneous effects.  His long unruly hair was a challenge – but it worked out well. Nick was   a  passionate Contemporary Art Collector with rather avant-guarde  taste and the portrait needed to reflect his persona and his visionary temperament.  There was something inspirational about him, that does not lend itself  to defining in words. I finished the piece on time and was able to cast it on time for the show.  As the show approached – I was  hoping Nick will come. He was out of town – in Cleveland, where he maintained a permanent residence – a place he loved very, very  much and where he spent a great deal of time.

The Art reception and opening were on July 9, 2005.  Attendance was fantastic –  Tony Michaels  piano virtuoso and Carol Chaikin  on trumpet  –  filled the air with  exquisite jazz improvisations;  everyone had a wonderful time. The next two days brought great  sales too.  Reception was at the Balboa Bay Club,  in Newport Beach. Nick did not come. He could not make it –  he sent someone else  instead  as an act of grace. He always used to do this. His impeccable  blue blood manners were his signature. After the show we talked  a  lot. A couple of weeks after the show we were planing to have dinner as soon as he returns from his short trip to London and Bordeaux, France. That was the last time we spoke.

He never  went to France.   Nor  to London that month. He never  even saw his portrait . Things developed with lightning speed. On August 19 – I received a call. Nick had undergone a six hour emergency operation, from which he did not wake up. It had happened the day before.

But the portrait,  remained  as a pure embodiment of that beautiful June afternoon, when  the stars  were aligned and the world was happy – Nick was happy – and I was extatic. He literally changed my perception of life. He brought out the best in me. That moment – I try to capture  in his subtle smile. His  head is tilted, looking down at the rotor handling  with absolute  precision  the   Read the rest of this entry »





WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR YOUR ART LATELY?

7 01 2012

HOW RELEVANT IS YOUR ART?

A few weeks ago a good friend sent me a cut our from an article in a Northern California newspaper. The cutout was missing the subtitles in the corner … However – reading this short and yet powerful article – I decided as soon as I can – I will post it on this blog, since it is so relevant! In our daily lives as Artists and designers – recognition sometimes never comes soon enough . There are moments when you just wish you were someone else – not constantly working,  struggling – and when it comes to promoting your art- you take a back seat. No reason. Maybe you thin your art will speak for itself.  Or maybe it is too close to your heart  – or  you still think it needs to be perfected  … whatever the reason, you let it sit  in your studio. And time passes . The truth is – once you have created it – you have an obligation to share it! Forget the sales – forget the fact that very few can afford to purchase art. A sale may come or not – but if your art is worth it – it will leave a mark in someone’s life.  A memory – will awaken hope or  a dream or a sense of  belonging . Whatever the case may be – your art mean something to someone  – and you must show it for that t reason only.

Have we become do corrupted that we cannot say the word Art without infusing the word Money in it?  VALUE does not always have to do with money. The intrinsic value of your art is the one you must show the world.

What is intrinsic value?:” The intrinsic value of something is said to be the value that that thing has “in itself,” or “for its own sake,” or “as such,” or “in its own right.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

If you put your heart in your Art – it will have value; intrinsic value to someone. And that is worth a lot more than any extrinsic value, expressed in modern currency. And that is worth a lot more than any extrinsic value, expressed in modern currency.  In the grand scheme of things – this form of value is of less importance, isn’t it?

What have you done for your art lately? Who did you show it to?

Here is Patrick Lydon’s Article:

ARTISTS MUST SHARE THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR WORK

by Patrick Lydon

Recently a fellow San Jose Art Commissioner was speaking to a former firefighter. She mentioned her position on the commission, to which the man replied: “ Art? What is Art? I see them installing sculptures in front of the fire stations, but what does it do for us?”

The former firefighter essentially saw public art as a poor use of money that could be diverted to other utilitarian services. The commissioner dutifully retorted by explaining her point of view on how public art inspires us, educates us, makes us think, laugh, smile, fosters a sense of Community and generally makes our neighborhoods better places to live.
But Art is far more than this community and generally makes our neighborhoods better places to live. But Art is far more than this.
If you are an Artist, you might not notice the ubiquity of the firefighter’s sentiment, especially when you are around friends and family who support you. However, an overwhelming majority of people today for one reason or another do not understand how and why art and creativity are important.
And it is not their fault!
As artists we can’t so easily blame art literacy on those who don’t understand it, on school boards who cut it from the curriculum or on government for not supporting it financially. It is difficult to admit, but we first need to blame ourselves.
Those of us who understand the importance of art and the creative spirit are largely failing at making it a part of others lives – failing at teaching the importance of our craft, failing at reminding others every chance we get how important the arts have been to us, failing at showing how art and creativity can and should be an important part of everyone’s life.
Although art often competes poorly in people’s minds when put alongside science, math or even shopping, the use of art as an integral part of life actually predates the oldest of these activities by some 30,000 years. (See Chauvet in France, the topic of Werner Herzog’s new film “Cave Forgotten”) Art has long been one of the basic components of a balanced life.
Throughout history, the most successful developed societies have valued artists highly, not only for what they produce directly but also for the positive tangenial effect that their uninhibited creativity has on society as a whole. This mysterious gift of creativity that Artists wield has had a large part in shaping our world into what it is today. As difficult an idea as it may seem, without creativity and the arts, you and I could quite easily still be living in caves – and caves without drawings on the walls at that.
The definition of art is often confined to painting, sculpture and perhaps performing arts, but the art is far more broad than these disciplines. Whether we recognize it or not, art surrounds us. From the music on our iPod to the design of the chair we sit in, the effect of art enters our lives hundreds of times dally. Art is not relevant to us unless we are educated as to what it is and why it is not only important but necessary.
In order for that relevancy to be understood and maintained, the stories of art and creativity must be told again and again, and in as many times ways as possible for as many different types of people as possible.

So – for those of you who know the value of arts and creativity: WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE ART STORY? AND WHOM HAVE YOU TOLD LATELY?

A few words about Patrick Lydon:

WHO IS PATRICK LYDON?

http://www.SocieCity.com

Editor-in-Chief
San Jose State University
About

A student of art, music, technology, and of the world around him, Patrick Lydon gained aesthetic and communicative training and interactions while earning his B.A. at San Jose State University. Following his studies, Lydon spent seven months traveling throughout East Asia and Europe, studying the energy and interactions between people, art, nature, and the urban space. From those experiences, his social/urban/nature research venture SocieCitywas formed, with content from a varied cast of authors, researchers, and artists, produced for consumption by the majority.

___________________________________________________

Perhaps Mr. Lydon does not realize it – but  his point of view has inspired  many.  This is my way of saying ‘Thank you!’

Yours truly,

Tsvetana Yvanova

for Art Chronicle





LONDON-CASS FOUNDATION SCULPTURE PLANS 2012

21 10 2010

LONDON. Exhibition Road, home to the South Kensington museums, is to be lined with ten new and recent sculptures by UK artist Tony Cragg during the 2012 summer Paralympic Games.

The scheme to take over the pedestrianised thoroughfare is led by the Cass Sculpture Foundation, a charitable trust that commissions and sells monumental work on display at its 26-acre estate at Goodwood, near Brighton.
“As a partner of the Cultural Olympiad, we have been working on the Exhibition Road project for the past two years with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea,” says entrepreneur and philanthropist Wilfred Cass, who established the foundation in 1992. ( Right, Photo of Tony Cragg, Sculptor-www.tony-cragg.com. View a video of on Cragg’s work, click here.)

In another significant move, culture minister Ed Vaizey has expressed interest in the unique funding model of the foundation. Ahead of the 20 October comprehensive spending review, the politician was no doubt keen to discover how the organisation has survived without receiving any funding from state-backed bodies such as Arts Council England.
“The charity’s simple business model effectively means that no outside funding is necessary,” says Cass. “The overheads of the foundation are paid for in full by admission charges and events.” Ed Wilde, technical director at the foundation, says: “When a piece by a particular artist is sold, we will commission another work from them using the foundation’s half of the proceeds. This effectively means that the artists will benefit from 100% of the net profit of a sale, even though the contractual fee is 50/50.”

The sculpture park attracts about 18,000 visitors a year, who pay £10 each to enter. Major sales recently have been to foreign collectors such as Portuguese billionaire José Berardo.

“People find it difficult to understand that a charity can also be commercial but isn’t this the kind of scheme favoured by the current government? With institutions such as the arts council and museums throughout the country facing major cuts, we see our role as working more closely with these bodies,” adds Cass.

 

 

 

VITAL FACTS ABOUT THE CASS SCULPTURE FOUNDATION

The Cass Sculpture Foundation has won a broad international reputation by carefully honing its expertise in the commissioning and sale of large-scale sculpture from the finest British artists.

Profits from all sales are split equally between the artist and the foundation to date we have displayed over 440 new sculptures and have provided an internationally renowned platform for a significant number of British sculptors.
We are now extending our visibility and international profile by planning a major series of events outside of Goodwood.

 

 

Tsvetana Yvanova

Editor,The Art Chronicle





HERB ALPERT- AT THE ACE GALLERY

3 02 2010

RECEPTION FOR THE ARTIST:  THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2010
7:30-9:00 PM

BLACK TOTEM SERIES RECEPTION FOR THE ARTIST:
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2010, 7:30-9:00 PM. ACE GALLERY BEVERLY HILLS, 9430 WILSHIRE BOULEVARD, BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA 90212
T: 310.858.9090 | F: 310.858.9091
WWW.ACEGALLERY.NET

Totems have pan-cultural associations throughout diverse cultures around the world, and these vertical forms have been used throughout history as tribal talismans representative of the spirit world and genealogies, ancestors and documenting societies. Herb Alpert, in his Black Totem series, has focused on this language of sculpture for the past 20 years and addresses this geneaology in his Black Totem sculptures.Alpert’s process for creating these sculptures is manually intensive. He works with wet clay first, molding it into vertical forms ranging from 8 to 36 inches tall. From these, he selects the ones he will make into larger sculptures that will range from 12 to 20 feet in height. These larger works are also hand formed with the wet clay. When completed, molds are made and then the sculptures are cast in bronze and patinaed black. Alpert’s totems read abstractly yet suggestions of recognizable forms appear; an eagle form seemly emerging from the top of one, or human shapes surfacing. That their forms evolved naturally, organically, and  are formed by the artist without carving tools further convey their biomorphic qualities. Alpert was, for the most part, inspired by the totems unique to the Pacific Northwest of North America such as those of the Haida, Tlingit, Kwakiutl tribes, whose totem poles were made of single pieces of cedar, some up to forty feet in height. For the Haida tribe, these ancestral totems are, and have been for hundreds of years, the essence of family and tribal identity and sometimes were used to mark entranceways to their lodgings, as depiced in the photograph, circa 1880, from Ketchikan, Alaska. The totem poles of the Pacific Northwest function as crests of families or chiefs commemorating major events or occasions, represented by  hierachies of different creatures, animals or various supernatural beings (each signifying different human attributes). In Native American tradition, a totem is an entity or symbol that watches over or ‘assists’ a family, clan or tribe. Totemism, derived from the Ojibwe language, refers to that which is kinship-related, and it is also a belief system that is frequently associated with shamanistic religions. Totems act as ‘familiars’ or guides accompanying one through life, both in the physical and spiritual worlds. Alpert’s forest of totems subliminally engage these theories and histories.

Alpert’s attraction to this sculptural form is understandable as it contains an enormous history. The black patina of his totems is evocative of ancient primal forms and the contemporary material belies an ancient prehistory. The pan-cultural consciousness invested into these dark sculptural forms also relate back in time to Egyptian obelisks as much as they evoke the Modernist sculpture of Constantin Brancusi – specifically Brancusi’s Endless Column (1937),  Alberto  Giacometti’s  extended  figures and early Louise Bourgeois sculpture. Alpert’s work shares with Bourgeois’ sculpture an affinity to animistic entities or guardians. Bourgeois’ first major body of sculpture were slender wooden sculptures – reminiscent of pillars or tribal effigies (she travelled to Africa in the late 1940s), which later developed into totemic constructions – a fusion of architecture with the body, its substitution for the body, or phallic surrogates. Alpert’s biomorphic totems are composed within the gallery space in a forest-like environment, yet while each is singular, they gain intensity as a group, amplified with Alpert’s use of black for the totems.Totemism was also a key element of study in the development of 19th and early 20th century theories of religions, especially for philosophers such as Émile Durkheim, who concentrated his studies on indigenous societies. Drawing on the identification of social groups with spiritual totems in Australian aboriginal tribes, Durkheim theorized how human religious expression was intrinsically founded in the relationship to a group. Sigmund Freud’s Totem and Taboo first published in 1913, employed the application of psychoanalysis to the fields of archaeology, anthropology, and the study of religion. Given a revisionist post-Colonial perception of tribal and indigenous cultures these perspectives now seem curiously Eurocentric. Author Edward Saïd’s Orientalism has been one of the most influential texts reddressing Eurocentric perspectives which has further generated a globalized dialectic. The structural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss posited in his text Le Totémisme aujourd’hui (Totemism Today), that totems are chosen arbitrarily for the purpose of making the physical world a comprehensive and coherent classificatory system, but also recognized that the concept of totemism is an artifact of western thinking imposed by anthropology.

For Alpert, these towering spires are like frozen smoke, or akin to the ineffable notes of music captured and held still as interminable forms. These abstract, yet formal structures and their process of creation are fluid in a way that jazz is, making intangible compositions physical. Alpert who is also a musician and composer, would not deny that there is a focused fluidity in the making of these sculptures consistent with the intuitive, harmonious and spontaneous moves and swings embodied in his approach to his music.

There will be a forthcoming publication on Herb Alpert’s Black Totems by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp to be published in Spring 2010, distributed by D.A.P.

For further information and visuals please contact Jennifer Kellen
Ace Gallery Beverly Hills
310.858.9090 or email jenniferkellen@acegallery.net





Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale In London

30 01 2010

HENRY MOORE – Wed London Feb 3, 2010 7 pm, Sotheby’s
HENRY MOORE – 1898 – 1986 RECLINING FIGURE
inscribed Moore, numbered 7/9 and inscribed Morris Singer Founders London, bronze, length: 246cm. 96 7/8 in. ESTIMATE 2,500,000 – 3,500,000 GBP

CATALOGUE NOTES

Executed in 1982 and cast in bronze in an edition of 9 plus 1 artist’s proof.The subject of the reclining figure, initially inspired by Mexican sculpture and explored in this monumental work, was one of Moore’s chief preoccupations throughout his long career. He has commented that ‘from the very beginning the reclining figure has been my main theme. The first one I made was around 1924, and probably more than half of my sculptures since then have been reclining figures’ (quoted in John Hedgecoe (ed.), Henry Moore, London, 1968, p. 151). David Sylvester described the genre in a manner particularly relevant to this sculpture: ‘They are made to look as if they themselves had been shaped by nature’s energy. They seem to be weathered, eroded, tunnelled-into by the action of wind and water. The first time Moore published his thoughts about art, he wrote that the sculpture which moved him most gave out “something of the energy and power of great mountains” [...] Moore’s reclining figures are not supine; they prop themselves up, are potentially active. Hence the affinity with river-gods; the idea is not simply that of a body subjected to the flow of nature’s forces but of one in which those forces are harnessed’ (D. Sylvester, Henry Moore, New York & London, 1968, p. 5). While Moore was working on his Shelter Drawings during the Second World War he became increasingly absorbed in the manner in which drapery could be made to denote sculptural volume. In part the enormous sculptural effects that could be achieved by draped figures had been inspired by Classical art, particularly some of the Parthenon figures. Moore noted that the shelter drawings caused him to look at and use drapery. Quoting Moore, David Sylvester considers drapery – accentuated in the present work around the figure’s legs – a form of contour making which assists in the successful integration of the sculpture into its surrounding landscape. Moore uses ‘the folds to create a variant of the metaphor of the figures as a landscape [...] to connect the contrasts of sizes of folds, here small, fine and delicate, in other places big and heavy, with the form of mountains, which are the crinkled skin of the earth’ (ibid., p. 109). For Moore, the use of drapery emphasised the tension of the covered form. Over time he began to treat drapery itself as an element formed by highlighting the curves and ruffles of the blanket. In this way, ‘The wrinkles and crinkles of the drapery at one stage began to remind me in close-up of mountain ranges’ (J. Hedgecoe (ed.), op. cit., p. 204). Moore has almost come full circle in his art and by 1982 the hills and crags represented by his early reclining figures are now linked to the curved solidity of his later sculpture. Other casts of this work are at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Caracas and the Henry Moore Foundation in England.
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