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Sculpture Marathon – IN-PERSON: when this you see, remember her (or him) with Brandt Junceau & Guests
The “through-the-shoulders bust portrait”- no base, just face-forward person standing as them self, has been on my mind for years, because it’s just terrific. Inexhaustible. In the Italian Renaissance it was a go-to form for portraits of young women, either recently betrothed, or recently deceased. Emotionally complex from the start, but the form cannot be simpler. Elemental, really. Often employed by painters making sculpture on sudden impulse, or sculptors in their most-basic in-yourface confrontational mode.
So simple, nothing more direct– how could it be more contemporary? Witness recent ceramic busts by Claire Tabouret, but less literally, Alex Katz’ big-format portrait painting (as borrowed by Warhol) and numerous full faces by Marlen Dumas are essentially the same format, the body truncated to similar purpose. Going back, Lehmbruck did it (heartbreaking) Rodin employed it (portraits of friends) and other moderns made use, but for me it was having just seen Lucio Fontana’s Teresita (his wife), terra cotta, glazed, life-size that triggered this Marathon.
Fontana sprinted through everything. Couldn’t go fast enough, or fresh enough. The thing looks like a tangle of brushstrokes, slathered with glossy blackish-brown chrome glaze. He had no fear of “taste.” Piece couldn’t be more kitsch, or higher art. Or a more breathtaking tribute to an intimate friend. That purchase on the present—grabbing it, snatching life from time, is what I want for students of this course. My job is to clear the path.
Steal this opportunity—piles of clay, armatures galore, ready to gallop. Some products will be fired, starting in the first week. Terra cotta is the most split-second true to a moment (and permanent) imprint of human thought known to humankind. By firing early, we can rework the color inside the two weeks. Clay is on offer, but all options are open– I already know that one of us intends to carve plaster. Fine by me. To each, their own. As a rule, I maintain very little in the away of rules. Here, the bust format is our only rule.