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rika 05-28-2016 05:53 PM

Sculpture under the radar?
Over the years I have had opportunities to mingle with painters, photographers and writers. Granted, all creative folks are individualistic to some degree, and we have to be, that's just the nature of finding that special place where thoughts and hands join to go to action...However, I couldn't help but notice that these other creatives established groups, collectives and associations among themselves. They meet, they organize exhibitions, events, approach institutions and bodies as a group, they make themselves visible, while the sculptors are scattered, working alone, not very much interested even in the other sculptors. How weird is that? Being on the outskirts, and fighting the fight in isolation doesn't exactly generate attention. Here in Ontario we have a sculptors' society but they don't play a very active role in raising awareness or advocating. I once approached a higher profile sculptor about us sculptors in the region getting together and do a show together. There is much talent and we could present to the public an interesting mix of local flavour in contemporary sculpture. I was told it was a great idea and that we should do it, unfortunately that was the end of the matter. Initial enthusiasm and then...nothing. At national level I have seen quite a few national competitions taking off during the last decade or so, in portrait painting and photography for example, with high profile sponsors joining in and significant prizes awarded. But nothing for sculpture! I feel that sculpture is doesn't get the attention it deserves and don't understand why. And if you think of it, some of the biggest art world players are sculptors! Just wondering, does anyone else noticing any of these in your area? What is your impression? I would be very interested in feedback and information on this topic. Thank you!

rika 05-28-2016 05:59 PM

Re: Sculpture under the radar?
I am just thinking of the guild system that seemed to work well in the past...will read up on how it worked.

Andrew Werby 05-29-2016 02:48 PM

Re: Sculpture under the radar?
I've wondered about this as well. Is it that sculptors are more individualistic, or that our practices are more diverse, so that we find it harder to relate to each others' work? Sculpture exhibitions are harder to put together; transportation is more expensive, and more's required than wallspace. And it's harder to sell, since few people have room to display it, especially large pieces and installations. Maybe there's so much work involved with creating it that there's little energy left over for arranging display opportunities.

Perhaps sculptors working in similar veins would get more traction; I notice that painters seldom organize themselves around painting per se, but watercolor painters, portrait painters, Western art painters, wildlife painters, erotic painters etc often show together.

I've spent time in meetings talking about forming a guild, but ultimately it came to nothing; someone would have had to do the heavy lifting, and while everyone wanted it done, nobody wanted to do it themselves. The "Little Red Hen" syndrome afflicts sculptors too...

Andrew Werby

raspero 05-29-2016 06:19 PM

Re: Sculpture under the radar?

Maybe there's so much work involved with creating it that there's little energy left over for arranging display opportunities.
What Andrew said seems about right to me.

I have been involved with a number of professional painters throughout my life, and I must say I am jealous of the time they have available to do things such as visit each other, teach classes in a nearby college, go on lecture tours, or just sit around their studios and read books; whereas sculpture just doesn't seem to allow for that. It's so damned labor intensive.

The big time sculptors—Louise Nevelson, Jeff Koons and Rodin come to mind—have, or had, teams of workers doing much of their work. Koons is more of a promoter and snake oil salesman than he is an artist, but, "Hey!" no artist I can think of is a more perfect match for his time.


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