I make figurative bronze sculpture. My work is realistic and often fragmentary with lots of empty space allowing the figure to breathe. It depicts themes of birth, the mother and child relationship, crucifixion, a graceful sensuality and androgyny. I sometimes intertwine sexual identity by combining male and female body parts in one figure. Using parts of bodies allows me to combine figures in ways impossible with complete forms and lets me join abstraction with figuration.
Occasionally I make wearable sculpture. These are faces, hands, and small figures that are adapted into pendants, brooches, rings and earrings. I make these to give as gifts, to donate to charitable auctions and sometimes even to sell. I also make really small figures, about 2 or 3 inches high. They are precious, and at the same time, have a large scale presence.
I work in wax rather than clay or some other material. I like its intimacy: I can hold the piece as I'm working on it instead of having it anchored to a pedestal, and I usually don't need an armature.
Making sculpture has its moments of artistry, but it is mostly a craft and a discipline. It's exciting for me to find graceful and unusual posturing and gesturing of figures and body parts, but the real work is completing the textural look of the wax, casting it in metal and finishing the surface. I am attracted to the process of finishing the wax. It's like meditating; it grounds me. Casting and finishing the metal is a chore, but it has to be done.
Currently, I am making a series of bronze mobiles. They are figures that are suspended from above rather than attached to a base. Their parts can be blown and spun by the wind, changing the parts relationship to one another, clanging and sounding like bells. I want to call them marionettes, but not quite yet.
© copyright 2010 George Wilhelm