Alena Randolph and Bryon Draper, Department of Art
Throughout the past year, I have been working to create a sculptural piece that conveys the conflict side of the human condition; namely the burdens we all carry. This is an ongoing project, estimated to be completed in Fall 2016. My hope is to display it in the upcoming Zion Art Competition. Afterward I hope to continue to show it to a variety of audiences in an effort to create further discussion on the subject matter.
This sculpture consists of 5 human figures posed to be carrying/pulling something heavy. What they carry is of varying weight and conveys the idea that not all burdens are equal but are unique to the individual. The figures will be attached to a base and assembled as a group for cohesiveness. The goal for the way they are displayed in the gallery will be to allow the viewer to walk around the sculpture and gain many angles or “perspectives” as they look at the piece and ponder on what the concept means for them.
To create this piece, I needed the practice and knowledge of bronze casting, which can be quite a long process. So alongside my mentor, Bryon Draper, I spent winter semester in class observing live models and sculpting the basic gestures that would serve as references for the larger wax forms to be cast into bronze (seen in the images below). I couldn’t have the model pose in extreme positions for too long, so it required some creativity and vision when working from the smaller references, to make the final figures more dynamic and express more emotion. This process of working also allowed me to expand my artistic eye and observational skills.
Bryon has been a great support as I’ve worked not only to improve my skills in the process of casting, but as well as encouragement in the concept behind this piece. As I worked, I not only gained an appreciation for artists that can sculpt the human form with accuracy and proper proportion, but for the human body itself. In a way it has been a spiritual experience for me as well; To think of the complicated arrangement of muscle and bone, that allows us as humans to lift, and walk, and cry, and laugh, and experience the many opportunities which life has to offer. As I marveled at the design and function of the human form I also came to appreciate more fully the concept I was trying to portray. Each figure in its perspective pose has a story to tell. Each represents a relatable struggle and has a reason behind why that individual is there.
This grant has allowed me to take the time to hone my skills in sculpting, training my observational eye and developing my artistic voice. I’ve learned from my mentor in ensuring basic art & design principles, but also in pushing my concepts further and not settling for mediocre work. I’ve learned to problem solve and work hard; life skills that will aid me in whatever future path I pursue.