Friday, March 31, 2017

OK, I promised in the last post that I'd publish a few pix of what I've been working on.  As I mentioned I tend to be a bit unsure of myself with this medium. I have many ideas for sculptures I'd like to sculpt, including a whole series based on a certain concept I have in mind, but I am slow and these take a long time.

This is a "portrait" (in quotes because it is not a portrait of an actual person, rather a composite from my mind) which has been in progress for quite a while. There is still something wrong with the right side of her mouth (her left side). I can't decide if I'm going to try to fix it or just call it done.

I just added the hair yesterday, in a final push to actually finish it. 

And here is the figure which I have inadvertently sculpted to look almost exactly like the other one which I sculpted many years ago. 

There is something about that pose, I guess, which is very compelling to me. 
Jorge, my sculpting teacher, has pointed out to me during class that, without meaning to, I tend to sculpt in a way which is idealized, more like a mannequin, but which is therefore also lacking in the "life" that a real person has. I can really feel the tension between these two approaches. This sculpture is basically from my mind, with a collection of random images used as reference. And it's very difficult to sculpt this way, as there is no absolute reference to use as an arbiter of whether a certain part is too big not, too small or not, angled correctly, etc. Actually the sculpting class itself embodies this tension, because in the morning we sculpt from the live model for three hours, and in the afternoon she is gone and we must sculpt from memory, which in my case is also clouded by ingrained generic anatomical awarenesses. 
I will hopefully post more of this one soon, as it is clearly not finished. 

And here is the sculpture I am working on in class. 

I think they say it's good for the brain, and the person, to try things that are difficult, that one is not too good at. And damn, that certainly applies to me and figure sculpting. I find it incredibly difficult. It is really the act of seeing, firstly, and then of making your hand control the clay in order to reproduce what you see. Then of course you must see your work, see the model again, find the differences, and correct them. It's really a lot like a control loop with error-sensing feedback, such as you might find in servo-hydraulics. But the feedback device is the eye, and the actuator is the hand. And in contrast to potentiometers, which are in a sense perfect input devices, the human eye (my eye) is not perfect. It's such an interesting process, training my eye. I get frustrated that I am not better at it.

I keep imagining using a full-body scanner to 3D scan the live model, then 3D scanning my sculpture, and allowing the computer to show me the differences, highlighted in red and blue for volumes that are too big and too small, respectively, so that I can correct them. Wow, that would be really complicated, and simultaneously really lazy. I'm sure that such an arrangement would ensure that I would not learn exactly what I am trying to learn.

My artistic output to date here in Spain also includes some maquettes (which for all intents and purposes are small sculptures, currently adorning our flat) which I have made for various festival proposals. I suppose I am somewhat superstitious, in the sense that I don't think it's appropriate to post those here as they have not all been evaluated yet for possible funding and eventual actualization.

Hasta pronto, chicos.

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