|Angel (1494) by Michelangelo Basilica of Saint Dominic|
I never used to sculpt when I was younger but in recent years I have developed quite an interest in it. The subtractive nature of sculpture has always appealed to my mind. There is something special about staring at a block and shaping it in order to bring about the hidden potential. Being a father has really brought this idea to a deeper level. There are times when I am with my daughter, that I look at her and wonder what she will grow up to be. I realize that everything I do and don't do with this little girl will ultimately help shape her into her future self. The thought absolutely terrifies me.
As horrifying as this thought is, it reminds of a piece of Taoist philosophy that I had completely forgotten about. The concept of Pu or the uncarved block. It is a reference to pure potential. There is no right or wrong, good or bad; there just is. It is the human mind before it has been tainted by the world...it's most primordial state. Pu is my favorite part of sculpture. The very beginning, when there is no form, just the block waiting to be carved. I will stare at a block for days before I make a decision about what to carve. Once I do decide what to carve I begin to address the block like a philosophic problem. I examine the block's nature: What type of wood is it? What tools do I have or need? Which way does the grain of the wood flow?
|Uncarved Mahogany Block|
|Now how unoriginal do I feel?|
This is where it gets strange. I searched the web to see how other have tackled this subject and low and behold do I find a sculpture that looks almost exactly to how I envisioned this.Well this makes the sculpture a little easier. I can use this as a primer for me to base my work. There are a few things I am going to change on my sculpture. For example, I won't have to worry about the weight issues that are inherent with stone like the primer does, so I can make the legs not look like the father has cankles. So I began carving. After two 30 minute sessions this is all that I was able to get:
|The Space Between Us- John Evans|
I will do another post next month updating you all on the progress of this project...providing I haven't stabbed my hands or cut off a finger. I'll be back next Thursday with another project. Until then, have a good week!