Tag Archives: sculpture

Creative Work: Sculptor Steve Eastwood

Sculptor Steve Eastwood is disabled as a result of a stroke at 19. Initially the prognosis for recovery was poor, and during his lengthy period of time in rehabilitation, he was exposed to pottery and started exploring sculpture. Today, he produces sculpture and also teaches a pottery class for disabled students.

Here’s some of his work:

A limestone sculpture of a man with flowing hair and a very expressive face, and a giant pair of wings.

‘Angel of the Midlands,’ a sculpture done in limestone.

A resin sculpture of David triumphant over Goliath's head. He's leaning on his sword and has his head propped on his other hand, looking down at the head on the ground.

‘David and Goliath,’ a resin casting.

And a segment on him, done by the BBC. It’s a bit patronising, especially at the end, but I thought some people might be interested in seeing him at work in his studio:

Transcript below the fold! (Note, this appearance is from 2008.)

Continue reading Creative Work: Sculptor Steve Eastwood

Creative Work: Yinka Shonibare, MBE

Everybody, I have found my new art crush. Yinka Shonibare, MBE is a British-Nigerian artist with an impressive list of awards, publications, and gallery exhibitions on his resume. And I am all kinds of in love with his work, from his art installations to his gallery pieces. I do love an artist with flexibility who  is just as likely to be found on the stage as in a gallery. And I like an artist who forces me to confront things about myself, to boot.

A headless mannequin in an ornate batik dress, leading three ocelots.

This piece is ‘Leisure Lady (with ocelots)’ and it pretty much sums up everything awesome about his work. For this sculpture series, he explores batik and other traditional textiles in ornate, beautiful gowns (seriously, if he did garment construction, I would totally be ordering from him) with clear Victorian influences. The headlessness of the mannequin provokes all kinds of thoughts in my head about identity; you could also read it as dehumanising, but I think it’s more complicated than that.

Two headless mannequins dressed in ornate and beautiful gowns. Each is holding up a pistol to aim at the other.

‘How to Blow Up Two Heads at Once (ladies).’ It’s disturbing. It’s challenging. It’s beautiful.

This quote about his work sums it up better than I can:

Known for using batik in costumed dioramas that explore race and colonialism, Yinka Shonibare MBE also employs painting, sculpture, photography, and film in work that disrupts and challenges our notions of cultural identity. Taking on the honorific MBE as part of his name in everyday use, Shonibare plays with the ambiguities and contradictions of his attitude toward the Establishment and its legacies of colonialism and class. In multimedia projects that reveal his passion for art history, literature, and philosophy, Shonibare provides a critical tour of Western civilization and its achievements and failures. At the same time, his sensitive use of his own foibles (vanity, for one) and challenges (physical disability) provide an autobiographical perspective through which to navigate the contradictory emotions and paradoxes of his examination of individual and political power. (source)

Creative Work: Say It In Stone (Clay, Wood, Bronze…)

I stumbled across an article on RE/FORMATIONS, an art show featuring disabled women artists that was exhibited last year, and promptly started playing hopscotch across the Internet, looking up sculpture by disabled artists. I’ve always really loved sculpture because it’s such a tactile art form to me, and one of the greatest experiences of my life was going to a gallery where people were actively invited to touch and handle the sculpture. Usually we are told to keep our hands to ourselves, and I feel like I miss out on an element of the artwork by not being able to physically interact with it; I feel more connected to the artist and the work by touching it.

This being the Internet, I’m afraid none of us can touch the sculpture, but we can look at it. Here are some interesting pieces I found in my travels.

A wall mounted motor moves book pages splotched with ink and attached to guide wires. The piece is suggestive of the wings of a bird flapping.

‘Amerika,’ by German artist Rebecca Horn. Her bio from the RE/FORMATIONS site:

Rebecca Horn’s sculptures illuminate how the work of an established artist, traditionally defined as feminist/performance art, can be re-interpreted from a disability perspective. Like many artists with disabilities, Horn’s impairment has been relegated to the biographical, or perceived as a deficiency overcome, instead of an identity embraced.RE/FORMATIONS will investigate the dialogue Horn creates from the lived experience of her lung impairment, and how it intersects with other aspects of her identity. Rebecca Horn’s disability, like her gender and nationality, has invigorated her aesthetic – structurally and thematically.

A female torso, done in black terra cotta. The right breast is missing, and replaced with a mastectomy scar.

‘Black Torso,’ by American artist Nancy Fried.

Nancy Fried began creating terra-cotta torsos of women who had undergone radical mastectomies in 1986 following her own mastectomy. She subsequently chose not to have her missing breast reconstructed. It is Fried’s subtle use of nostalgia, and her ability to bridge the divide between the loss and pain of a mastectomy and the pride and power of diversity, that sets her apart from the majority of her colleagues. Fried’s embracing disability as an identity not to be “overcome” is what makes her work art and not therapy. Fried says she hopes to help “redefine female beauty,” and her torsos do this by virtue of their honesty and power.

A sculpture showing a group of men in loincloths, balancing on oversized mechanical parts. They are heavily muscled and the image suggests power and activity.

I used to walk past this sculpture, ‘The Mechanics Monument,’ pretty regularly when I lived in San Francisco, without really looking at it. Public art often goes unappreciated when you’re scurrying around about your business, and the next time I am in the City, I’m going to try to make more of a point of noticing it, because there’s some very cool stuff right there in public for everyone to enjoy (and touch). This piece is by Deaf sculptor Douglas Tilden; you can read more about him at If These Hands Could Speak… if you’re interested!