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watch a marble sculpture form

Post #654 • November 8, 2005, 12:23 PM • 53 Comments

Edmund Sullivan, formerly of Miami, presently of Massachusetts, will be posting images of a marble sculpture in progress.

Comment

1.

jordan

November 8, 2005, 7:45 PM

- refreshing

2.

Franklin

November 8, 2005, 8:28 PM

I thought so too, Jordan.

3.

George

November 8, 2005, 10:48 PM

why?

4.

bad kitty

November 8, 2005, 11:13 PM

the exposed portions of the marble look clean and pure

5.

ahab

November 9, 2005, 12:17 AM

Many times people have said to me, "I wish I could come and just watch you work in the studio." They think they would, but really it would be extremely boring. Like staring at the shadow of a lamp post, waiting for it to move.

The only interesting thing about the thing is, as George is wondering, why a couple of artists such as yourselves would think it is refreshing. I don't think I would be interested in a stage-by-stage start-to-finish uncovering of your process, Franklin, for example. Just the finished work thanks.

The finished work here is already visible as intended and "seeing inside the block" is not really necessary to the website visitor. I don't care whether or not the carver is able to make a perfect marble likeness of an clay sculpture, just if either is any good.

And now that I've been brought to it, I'm not a little bored by the maquette. I could critiique some details of it, but they wouldn't make much of a dent in the overall effect.

Too harsh? It's intended to be a light-handed comment from another chiseling sculptor.

6.

that guy

November 9, 2005, 12:39 AM

I prefer this chrome artist's play by play account of making his art. Takes a while to read the whole tale, but the guy is talented.

7.

George

November 9, 2005, 12:50 AM

Sullivan's work is retrograde academic and boring. Not in the hunt at all.

Marc Tanguy is a French realist painter who does a similar thing on his blog which I find more interesting.

8.

Franklin

November 9, 2005, 9:46 AM

Sullivan left Miami a few years ago and now there's no one south of Ocala who can carve figuratively in marble. The guy has serious chops and is on his own hunt.

9.

George

November 9, 2005, 9:56 AM

So he's technically skilled, so what?

The works boring, carved or not

10.

Franklin

November 9, 2005, 10:04 AM

So these technical skills are falling into disfavor and I like to make a stand for them periodically. Fewer skills mean fewer options for art.

11.

George

November 9, 2005, 10:30 AM

So these technical skills are falling into disfavor ...

I don't think it is the technical skill that's the problem. There's a gallery in Little Italy filled with nicely carved heads which make me gag every time I walk by

Years ago I met an artist from Brazil, Saint Clair Cemin who exhibits with Sikkema Jenkins Gallery here in NYC. He was classically trained, can cut stone and makes interesting sculpture using a variety of traditional mediums.

12.

name

November 9, 2005, 1:22 PM

http://www.snitzer.com/current/future.html

any thoughts on these "giants" ?

13.

oldpro

November 9, 2005, 1:36 PM

So George, this Cemin person, is he "in the hunt"? What is it we are hunting for, exactly? Or are you just putting us on.

All your friend Marc needs is some wan looking characters loitering about his landscapes and he can join the Hernan Bas crown. He certainly has the scratchy patchy semi-painted thing down cold.

14.

oldpro

November 9, 2005, 1:37 PM

Sorry. Hernan Bas "crowd" is what I meant.

15.

George

November 9, 2005, 2:17 PM

OldPro, I brought up Saint Clair because he was traditionally trained (in France I think) and does use some traditional techniques in his work. I haven't seen him in a number of years, so I wouldn't go as far as calling him a friend. Whether or not he is "in the hunt" is irrelevant at this point, he's over 50 and has made a decent career for himself as a sculptor.

I certainly think his body of work is more interesting by a longshot than the stone cutters.

Again, I don't know Marc Tanguy, I ran across his blog accidentally and now make a point to visit on occasion just to see what he is doing. He also shows the work as it progresses and although I find it somewhat conservative to my taste I also think it's more interesting

16.

name

November 9, 2005, 3:25 PM

so how about some feed back on the up coming bas paintings on that link. im not part of the "crowd" just curious to read what you all honestly think of this work.

17.

that guy

November 9, 2005, 3:29 PM

well, he is no Goya when it comes to painting giants.

18.

that guy

November 9, 2005, 3:31 PM

It is becoming clear, that Bas doesn't like to paint hands much.

19.

Paula

November 9, 2005, 3:38 PM

and that he doens't like paint either.

20.

oldpro

November 9, 2005, 4:01 PM

He's no Goya, indeed. I blanch at the comparison. But he has a certain kind of current mannerism absolutely down pat, and it is putting him over big time.

Good for him.

Caveat emptor.

21.

nam

November 9, 2005, 4:05 PM

Ok... he doesn’t like painting hands or paint and is definitely no Goya...he does like young waify boys...any other thoughts and not insults or cheap shot one liners?
People on this site usually seem pretty well spoken; unless it comes to a topic or artist they don't particularly appreciate...how about a nice critique of the paintings at hand

22.

Franklin

November 9, 2005, 4:09 PM

...inspiration came from not wanting to be 'inspired'.

Affected irony with scare quotes. Where's my gun?

The second image is much stronger than the first, and it has some moments - the figure is much more convincingly rendered than the one above it, and the application of paint in the trees has something going for it - a chalky roughness that works well here. The way the little people are drawn is unfortunate. Bas likes these dark palettes that don't function very well for him - they cause that common problem that everything starts looking sooty rather than shadowy, and the second image seems to be getting away from that. Pictorially the second one is better as well - the viewer is brought into the scene more because of the viewpoint. The top image is a dreary attempt all the way around; the second at least shows some flair.

23.

Jack

November 9, 2005, 6:14 PM

This year, giants from Giverny. Next year, midgets from Lascaux. I'm so excited I can hardly type. This concept stuff is totally riveting. I'm positively breathless awaiting the next gallery press release. Trista Dix, eat your heart out!

24.

Franklin

November 9, 2005, 6:17 PM

After that: Elves from Arles.

25.

oldpro

November 9, 2005, 6:58 PM

Franklin's crit is pretty good, if much too generous. I don't find the second figure convincing at all. The proportion is all off, for one thing, it doesn't read right, eg the chest is headed in two different directions, and this is not painting that makes a point of distortion so it is a fault. If you want to test this out put someone in that position and look at the person and then look at the painting.

Look at the way the left hand ends in a blur, and the woodsy part, which Franklin tried to be nice about, is generally smudgy in the inexpressive way that always results when an inept painter tries to cover his tracks with "bad" painting. Look at the way the sky follows the figure, making it fail to fall back consistently. Look at the shading on the left part of the chest, creating an utterly unconvincing flat patch. Look at the light: the woods are dark, the water is full of bright reflections and the figure is clearly painted as if posing in a well lighted room. Where is the light source?

C'mon, folks. This is not a cheap shot, this is bad painting.

I could go on, but I am not getting paid to crit Hernan Bas.

As I said, caveat emptor.

26.

George

November 9, 2005, 7:20 PM

Long Live the Academie

27.

Jack

November 9, 2005, 8:01 PM

The more I look at the second Bas image (the one Franklins says is not as bad as the first), the more I get the disturbing feeling that maybe, just maybe, Julian Schnabel was not quite as awful as I thought. If I keep looking at the thing, I'm afraid I'll start developing a slight tolerance for the notion that Roberto, I mean, Francesco Clemente is a "truly great artist" (well, some people have put that in writing). Very scary.

28.

oldpro

November 9, 2005, 9:20 PM

Schnabel has his moments, Jack. He is not without talent. There is one in the recent Princess Thurn sale (look at it on artnet) which is not half bad, despite being painted on velvet.

Schnabel's problem is that he lacks the reflective capacity of the great artists, that instinct to take a good idea and exhaust its possiblitities for art's sake. Schnabel is too much of a wild careerist to bother with such niceties, and it hurts his art.

However I prefer Schnabel, for all his blatant excess and vulgarity, to the painfully graceless mannerism of Bas.

29.

Jack

November 9, 2005, 10:03 PM

Well, Oldpro, I think Bas may actually be getting worse, and the more his star rises, the less he's likely to notice or care. After all, so many "major" collectors and institutions can't be wrong, can they? And who are we, a bunch of dangerously authoritarian nobodies, to disagree? Bring on the Lascaux midgets.

30.

mek

November 9, 2005, 10:33 PM

yawn

31.

void

November 9, 2005, 11:06 PM

oldpro, how is it you praise the likes of Andy Gambrell and scrutinize the bas work, im not exactly what you would call a bas fan but geez man, andy gambrell? this is what you consider "good"? its this kind of discrepancy that voids your opinion.

32.

void

November 9, 2005, 11:06 PM

oh and mek, if your tired you should go to sleep

33.

oldpro

November 9, 2005, 11:08 PM

MEK, you were awake?

34.

oldpro

November 9, 2005, 11:10 PM

Sorry you feel that way, Void. I think Andy's work is interesting and getting better. That's my take on it.

35.

mek

November 9, 2005, 11:19 PM

i'm always awake. i never sleep.

but... stone carving makes me sleepy - what can i say? i don't have the patience for it. tried it once and couldn't find my zen that way. i prefer a more immediate response to my medium. but that's just me.

maybe if i stared at that image each nite i would fall asleep more readily.
yawn
see there i go again...

36.

void

November 9, 2005, 11:27 PM

Old signs crudely stapled on 2x4’s is interesting and worth respecting…a painting of whatever made by a person you don’t like or know for that matter is crap, hum…idunno.. like I said I’m not necessarily a fan, I’m just curious and confused as to how bas or your other favorite, Duchamp are such crap and how gambrel has so much potential with his readymade sign art. These discrepancies might be one of the reasons why people confuse your opinions for envy. It might just be you’re bothered by mediocrity in the limelight…if that’s the case, say so. Praising unsung mediocrity is no way to go.

37.

ahab

November 9, 2005, 11:48 PM

I don't know Bas, never seen his work in person. The only thing I like in either painting is the blue sky of the second. If I were feeling particularly kind I may also keep the shadowed stalagmite section of the first, cropping most everything else.

In each painting the boy's face splits free of the rest of the setting. The degree of finish in the face sets an expectation for the treatment of the entirety, which the entirety fails to live up to. The face is not exactly lifelike, but it is rendered in a manner which is exclusive of its body or environment. The little shadowmen suffer the same fate - they pop off the canvas (severed from their context) to the detriment of the picture. So do the trees. So do the stalactites. So does the sky, which I stil like.

Sure, the thing can be read (rationalized) with a psychological bias, but it is presented written in paint not text. It must therefore make the chosen medium cohere in such a way as to convey that subject materially. Doesn't happen here.

With young Bas' brilliant CV, I'd expect, nay hope, that there are other of his paintings that do work - other paintings that are at the very least equal to the sum of the parts.

38.

Marc Country

November 10, 2005, 12:24 AM

Ahab is being nice. The two paintings on the linked page hurt my eyes and make me sad. This is student level work, at best. This dude's successful, is he? Weird.

Checked out Gombrell... I don't know what void's getting at about "crudely stapled" as if Bas wasn't "crudely painted"... I can't say I'm over the moon about Gombrell, but he's at least got an eye.. and if you can't see the difference in quality between these two artists, well, then art just isn't your thing. That's ok though... it's not most people's thing.... but please, let's not slag people who can tell the difference just because some people can't.

39.

oldpro

November 10, 2005, 5:37 AM

I was not aware that anyone saw my opinions as envy, void. At any rate, there is nothing I can so about that, nor am I going to try to.

You need not be confused by "why" I like or dislike something. I really don't know why either. One can discuss these preferences forever but they are just that - preferences. Art is a matter of experience, not reason.

You are right that "mediocrity in the limelight" irritates me. I make no secret of that.

40.

Franklin

November 10, 2005, 6:26 AM

You are right that "mediocrity in the limelight" irritates me. I make no secret of that.

Me too, and oftentimes so does mediocre work, which has the quality it has independently of its fame.

I think that Bas is improving. A few years ago he was doing painted photos that were moribund and goofy. His recent work can sometimes manage a vital area, and his embrace of an illustrative style has mobilized the goofiness, turning the boy-waif concept into enough of a theme that we can at least tell that he cares about what he's doing. I think there should be an Inka Essenhigh Award for artists whose acclaim massively outstrips their talent and that Bas should be its first recipient, but he has a dose of talent.

41.

oldpro

November 10, 2005, 10:44 AM

Well, I guess I am less generous than you are, Franklin. "An occasional vital area" just won't hack it out there in the limelight, as far as I am concerned.

The Inka Award is a good idea but the competition would be overwhelming.

42.

George

November 10, 2005, 10:58 AM

Yawn, just another tough day in the studio

43.

Jack

November 10, 2005, 1:52 PM

Forget those painfully affected and contrived photos, Franklin (#40); next to them almost anything is an improvement. Just look at his work as a painter (yes, I know, he's a multimedia artist, like everybody else).

44.

George

November 10, 2005, 2:12 PM

Hey Oldpro, just for the record, take a look around and you'll see Hernan Bas is in the hunt..

The geezer factor is in full force here and you guys just don't get it.

45.

oldpro

November 10, 2005, 3:03 PM

George, I am such a geezer I have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

46.

George

November 10, 2005, 3:07 PM

you betcha

47.

Franklin

November 10, 2005, 5:09 PM

Geezer? Bah. Jacin Giordano is younger than Bas, and better too. Ditto Gavin Perry, who's about my age, and also in the Snitzer stable. This has nothing to do with age or gallery affiliation or any other thing except artistic seriousness.

Jacin's going to be famous one day. I won't stop liking his work because of it.

48.

Jack

November 10, 2005, 7:12 PM

"The geezer factor is in full force here and you guys just don't get it."

Ah, George. Whatever would we do without you? After all, someone has to set us straight, and who better than an agressively au courant geezer? How old are you, again? Being so "with-it" must be a comfort and consolation to you, but you mustn't expect everyone to be so inclined.

Some of us will persist in being supremely unimpressed by the trophy-count, CV or art-press coverage of anybody whose work we find, well, unimpressive. Remember Wile E. Coyote? He was in the hunt, too. So was Elmer Fudd, come to think of it.

Naturally, there will be any number of people falling all over themselves for anyone "hot" enough, but so it always goes. It's so safe and convenient, and it looks so tuned in--besides, it's much easier to go with the flow. Alas, some of us refuse to play along, but the "right" crowd needs us to condescend to and look down upon, so we serve a useful function.

49.

George

November 11, 2005, 3:24 PM

Party's over, time to suit up.

50.

Franklin

November 11, 2005, 3:30 PM

Hey, check out Day Five - the terracotta broke.

51.

Franklin

November 11, 2005, 3:51 PM

Party's over, time to suit up.

It's a jungle out there.

52.

oldpro

November 11, 2005, 3:56 PM

Thanks, George.

It's amazing. The minute I put on one of those aluminum foil helmets I started liking Postmodernist art.

53.

ahab

November 11, 2005, 6:17 PM

The broken maquette is a better sculpture than the first version. It may be pointing the way to a better marble sculpture as well.

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