Posted on: April 23, 2021
True art is a privilege to experience. The medium of Michelangelo, Bernini, and Brancusi, the perception used to compose the Winged Victory of Samothrace and Laocoon’s Slithering Sea Serpents, is challenging to understand in-depth, but that’s what makes it unique.
Marble has also come to mean bougie kitchen countertops and the tacky opulence of hotel lobbies in Las Vegas.
Is it really only that much? Has the beautiful usage of Marble in the expression of true art declined?
Marble remains as famous as ancient temples and tombs as a material for modern sculptures due to its elegance and longevity. Marble expresses status, history, and prosperity.
As if it were a high-maintenance partner, contemporary sculptors who work with Marble talk effusively about their medium, as one who requires dedicated care and vision, but manages to impress and delight after all these years. They applaud its elegance, its delicacy, its historical art bonafide, its practicality as a workhorse and its capacity to resemble both flesh and rock, frequently in the same work.
Marble Statues, Marble Sculptures, Marble Art.
Artists continue to discover possibilities of marble and its potential, considering the weight of its past, whether through conventional craft methods or CNC carving machines. We share the works and perspectives of three artists below, who have extended the use of marble and are representing the medium in our generation.
Barry X Ball
Barry X Ball’s unique take on modern Marble art is that his Marble and other calciferous stonework always starts with digital evidence, not with charcoal drawings or clay models.
His use of a 3D scanner for his “Portrait Sculptures”, “Masterpieces,” and “Scholars’ Rocks” series to capture the forms of living portrait subjects and historical works, such as Pietà Rondanini (1552–64) by Michelangelo has been nothing short of revolutionary.
While Ball has been working in this way for many years, the scanner’s precision always impresses him. He starts with an exact copy of his subject, then either enhances or alters their faces and bodies in unreal and eerie ways.
A true mind of art, wouldn’t you say?
A sculpture is, for Milena Naef, much like a family enterprise. She is the last of four generations to carve in stone, but the content is taken in an unorthodox direction by her performance-based practice.
Her take on Modern Marble art is unique and really something to behold!
In her “Fleeting Parts” series, Naef carves holes into marble slabs that suit her as precisely as a couture gown, so that an arm, knee, or hip emerges from the stone. Medusa transformed to gravel, or Han Solo frozen in carbonite, is a combination of flesh and rock that indicates ancient tales of transformation. The impact is shocking and visually stunning!
Flesh and rock, a true concoction of a brilliant mind!
Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel
Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel have pursued conventional art methods together over for more than 20 years, often designing the works themselves rather than depending on suppliers, always making a particular material the subject of a body of work.
The duo turned their attention to Marble art in a new display at Brooklyn’s Gallery Clearing. The exhibition, entitled “Rosa Aurora Rosa,” featured huge marble blocks (each weighing over 7 tons), carved by hand.
Dewar and Gicquel conjure pedestal sinks, toilets, showerheads and even human arms and legs out of these rugged blocks of stone. They have previously fused bodies and objects: a stoneware jar with a human foot or a wooden digestive tract relief adorning a heavy wooden cupboard. Their combinations of pink marble are incredibly successful because of their ability to imitate human skin.
“Creativity takes courage.”
– Henri Matisse
Combining artistic brilliance with the unorthodox. True artistic brilliance indeed!
There you are!
Three contemporary artists who carry and represent Modern Marble Art in today’s world.
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