Showing posts with label Jim Budish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jim Budish. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Three Dimensional Art: Visual physicality

By Judy Feldman | www.wildemeyer.com

As a painter, my only experience with three-dimensional art is when I try to show the planes in something like a table, or work with perspective to try to draw the viewer into the scene. But a painting is always two dimensional because there is no actual depth. When you add that extra dimension of depth to length and width, you get 3D art.

Sculpture is a wonderful form of three-dimensional art. It’s primarily a hands-on process, and color takes a back seat to form. I wanted to know why some of the artists at Wilde Meyer favor sculpture (how can they live without red paint??), and learn about their techniques.

Tony Dow creates abstract bronze sculptures, as well as mixed media 3D pieces. He said that he’s always loved this medium, and has the ability to visualize a three dimensional image even before he starts to work on a piece. In his artist statement, he says the following about his work: "The figures are abstract and not meant to represent reality but rather the truth of the interactions as I see and feel them.”

Tony produces limited editions of nine bronzes using the lost wax process from molds of the original burl sculpture. He describes his method this way: “The first and most important step is to create the original figure that is to be cast. My originals are done in burl wood, which is extremely hard, requiring special carving equipment. The natural contour of the wood contributes to the form of each piece. Using various saws, chisels, grinders, and sanders, the details are brought out to reflect the concept of the piece.”

The bronze sculpture is then produced using the lost wax process at the foundry. It’s a pretty interesting process used by many sculptors, which I’ll describe here. A heat-resistant mold is formed around the wood original and encased in plaster. Once dry, the mold is separated into two pieces and the wood original is removed. Sometimes multiple molds are made for one sculpture.

The mold is then bolted together and filled with hot wax to produce a duplicate of the original wood sculpture. The final wax version is dipped in a plaster-like slurry to encase the wax figure. Once hardened, the new plaster mold is placed into an oven at 1800 F, where the wax melts away through ducts in the mold and leaves a plaster reproduction of the original mold. The cavity of the plaster mold is filled with bronze or other desired metal. Once cooled, the plaster is broken away leaving a rough cast version of the original sculpture which now has to be cleaned, reconstructed if more than one mold is necessary, and sandblasted.

Now the sculpture is now ready for patina, or coloring. After the piece is washed down to remove any contaminates, it is heated to the applicable temperature depending on the combination of acids used to produce the desired finish.

Jim Budish sculpts his smaller pieces in clay, and then casts them in bronze in the same lost wax method as Tony’s. For life-size and monumental works, he prefers to sculpt in low density foam with a hot-knife, applying clay to the surface before casting in bronze.

Jim said that he loves the feel of three-dimensional sculpture, and knowing that a bronze piece “will be around in 5,000 years, even though I won’t,” He creates whimsical animals that have exaggerated features, such as the rabbit ears in “Abby,” or the long, long legs of “Moose.”

Long ago, Jim realized that he didn’t want to sculpt "photographs" in bronze. He says, “I felt that I wanted to create my own new and unique direction in representing the human form and the forms of the multitude of special creatures surrounding us, exploring the unique attitude, emotion and personality of each, while attempting to capture the ‘joie de vivre’ that I believe is lurking somewhere inside all of us. Maybe if we smile more and take each other a little less seriously, people would get along better!”

Horses have always been a part of Lisa Gordon’s life. She says that there’s an emotional bond between herself and her horses.

”I drew and mimicked them as a child; I owned and trained them as a teen; studied and revered them in college. Now as an artist, it’s natural that I sculpt the horse's image. The horse is the figure through which I actualize my ideas. It becomes a tangible bridge between the viewer and me. My goal is to render the horse with empathy and respect without getting bogged down in realities.”

Lisa’s art studies exposed her to bronze casting. She said that she loves the hands-on physicality of sculpture. Her method is different from that of Tony or Jim’s. Lisa actually works directly in wax, heating it enough to manipulate it and then carving on it when it cools. “It kind of marries the skills of ceramics and woodworking,” she said. “I work with many technical processes that are woven seamlessly together so that the viewer cannot see the complex assemblage that’s required.”

If the scale of the piece is small, such as “Rocking Foal,” she’ll make a one-of-a-kind piece that may be part of a series with a theme. For a sculpture like “Trophy,” Lisa created the horse in that manner, then cast the handles, pedestals and balls. The central column is fabricated and and colored.

After speaking with these three artists, I realized that although it’s a tedious process, the pleasure of handling the materials and creating a three-dimensional image is what drives them to pursue this medium.

In my next blog, I’m going to speak to some other 3D artists – this time, the mediums will be ceramics and glass.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Art of a Smile

By Judy Feldman | www.wildemeyer.com

Since visual art is a means of personal expression, it’s not surprising that some paintings or sculptures convey a sense of humor. Those of us who see the world in a lighthearted way tend to have that vision when creating art. And, today, we have much more freedom to “tell” a story the way we want to, than say, Rembrandt or Vermeer who were pretty constrained by the artistic styles that were in vogue at that time. (Do you think Rembrandt had a sense of humor??)

The Wilde Meyer artists who embrace humor in art seem to have one thing in common: they frequently portray animals. Let’s see why…

BFFs 24"x30" oil on canvas
by Connie Townsend
Connie Townsend translates the humor she sees in life to her paintings. Even though most of her work focuses on dogs, the joy and hilarity she conveys could certainly apply to humans. But it’s so much funnier with dogs! For example, in her painting entitled “BFFs,” the two dogs riding a motorcycle – one in the side car – are having a blast together, tongues hanging out, ears flying and totally focused on their exhilarating ride. You can’t help but smile at a scene like that.

Labra Duo 24"x30" oil on canvas
by Connie Townsend
New Yorkie 24"x16"
by Connie Townsend
Her titles capture her sense of humor as well. In “Labra Duo,” two Labradors are hanging out the windows of an old Cadillac. Look closely, and you’ll see their white and black tails crossing each other. “New Yorkie” is another one of Connie’s funny takes on dogs-who-could-be-humans. The Yorkie is all dolled up with a bow in her hair – she could be a New York City dog, or maybe a New Yorker…

Despite her humorous approach, Connie has a very painterly technique, and her vigorous brush strokes and bright colors give the works the energy needed for her lighthearted style.
Strong color is another way of expressing upbeat emotions. Sue Goldsand produces fused glass sculptures of animals in a whimsical style. The bright hues and funny expressions on her characters’ faces definitely evoke a smile, if not a laugh.
Tweets, fused glass scultpure
by Sue Goldsand

“Blue Standing Dog” is another example of Sue’s humor, with its cool glasses, wagging tongue and bright red heart (in a strange place).
Blue Standing Dog, fused glass sculpture
by Sue Goldsand

Bailey, cast bronze scultpure
by Jim Budish 
Jim Budish’s bronze sculptures don’t have color for expression, but his stylized animals with their elongated legs bring a sense of humor to his work. Jim says "I try to create a smile through my sculpture by reaching into my subject, attempting to capture the ‘Joie De Vivre’ that I believe is somewhere inside all of us.”

Jim captures the essence of his subject’s spirit, emotion, attitude and personality. His rabbits’ long necks and large ears represent a species that we know, but are just a little funnier than they are in life. He references relatives and friends when he names his sculptures. “Abbey” is named for his granddaughter, and “Bailey” represents a friend’s dog.
Abby, cast bronze scultpure
by Jim Budish 
Like Your Hair 24"x24" acrylic on canvas
by Trevor Mikula
Hula Hoop Takes the Stage 12"x12"
by Trevor Mikula
Humor is the essence of Trevor Mikula’s paintings. Sometimes, it’s just the title: “Like Your Hair,” referring to a leafy plant, or the “Argyle Chicken” strutting on a diamond-patterned floor. Trevor says he gets his ideas from friends, who suggest a quirky take on something they see. Using his own imagination, vibrant colors and textured paint application with a palette knife, Trevor creates whimsical characters that are joyful and funny. “Hula Hoop Takes the Stage” is a great example of Trevor-style humor.

Argyle Chicken 24"x24" acrylic on canvas
by Trevor Mikula
We enjoy looking at art for many reasons, some more intellectual than others. But getting a smile or even a good laugh is certainly one we can all appreciate!

See more at www.wildemeyer.com.