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-   -   What's a figure? (http://www.sculpture.net/community/showthread.php?t=524)

West 08-31-2003 09:45 PM

What's a figure?
 
I am really confused. I have been working on a piece that is figurative, but decided that it was not the direction I wanted to go. How is it possible to keep the idea of a figure without actually using a easily recognizable figure form? I am refering to a stone piece, but my question can apply to any medium. I just wanna know what defines a figure. Is it the figure itself, or can figurative art also involve conceptual art, etc?

rderr.com 08-31-2003 10:44 PM

see
 
quote I contend there is no figurative or abstract. There is only the metaphor and its appropriate material and style. The addressed audience will be captured only by what it brings to the show. Sometimes in human history there are those that add to the pool of symbols, and the audience goes away with a new “word” in their vocabulary. end quote

fritchie 08-31-2003 10:52 PM

When is a figure a figure?
 
West - Good question. Someone asked Judith Shea, keynote speaker at ISC’s recent Figuratively Speaking conference on the figure, roughly “Can an animal be a figure?” This clearly took her by surprise, but she quickly said that it could, if the focus was on the “figure” of the animal, whatever that means. Clearly, I’m not trifling with her comment, but expressing puzzlement myself over the issue.

I would say, if you want to get conceptual about the figure, her own work with clothing is one tack. Something used by a person, or which relates to a person, could be considered figurative, it seems. And, since you mention stone, very abstracted form which suggest the figure would fit the category. Very early, Cycladic Greek sculpture clearly is figurative, but quite geometric.

I’ll stop here to see what others say.

ALH 09-01-2003 05:09 PM

How's this...show the object to five people. If more than one sees 'a figure' in it then it's figurative. The more agreement on a visible figure then the more figurative it is.

Get 100 people to view it and you could even claim that it is X% figurative/non figurative. This could be affixed to the bottom or to the shipping container like the additives on cereal boxes.

basically if it seems to be anthropomorphic then it is. I hope this is of some use to you I'm going to go look at clouds for a little while now.

rderr.com 09-01-2003 08:46 PM

clouds from both sides now
 
clouds from bouth sides now and you are canadian?

Ardore

ALH 09-01-2003 10:01 PM

An Albertan

jwebb 09-01-2003 11:33 PM

Most of my sculptures have started out as rather traditional "figure studies", but in the making I often recognize some interesting abstract qualities in the forms, or suggested by the character of the material itself, which take over the whole thing. The piece may eventually lose all of its "figurative" connotations, at least for most viewers, though for me there is often some element or appeal still based on the figure, that remains. I've also had the reverse kind of thing happen, where I started out with an abstract sketch, with no preconceptions; liked it; decided to enlarge it and make it in a more permanent material; and way down the road came to see "figurative" elements in it that I didn't even know were there. I have one piece in which several people, including one reviewer and the guy who eventually bought the piece, see "entwined figures" in it which I never consciously put there or saw there until they started talking about it. The point I'd like to make is that this is exactly what I like the most. I love to reach that point where trying to represent the figure ceases to be what it's all about. What happens after that is what's most interesting, and what keeps me going.


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