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Jerry Williams-Sculptor


Jim Kelso

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how's this for a final statement? :D I've had this cartoon strip taped to the wall of my various studios for about 12 years! :rolleyes:

 

I must say I quite like it :D

 

And I couldn't decide if it was Freyr or Thor in your Av, have to admit it comes as a surprise you identifying yourself with Norsemen at the moment. :D

 

I have been following the topic with interest and trying to avoid getting involved. Ultimately it is down to personal levels of sensitivity, the ability to receive any critique with duck feathers. I personally have a high level of tolerance to critique whereas some others don't. What sometimes confuses me and it must still be down to interpretation is what "constructive criticism" means, I sometimes think it was coined by someone with a very sensitive personality and therefore needed to be talked to following a different proceedure.

 

I like oftentimes to hear what customers say when they are out and about shopping and issue the rawest of comments with regards to the quality of the items they are browsing. I do recall once even reading a Top Gear review in which they branded a certain $90,000 Mercedes Benz detail's as worthy of a Hyundai level of finishing. Now there were two possibilities... either the designer of the car in question was to curl up and die, or he would have taken it in his stride knowing that perhaps to the company's criteria it fulfilled exactly what it needed to.

 

Finally as a preventive measure usually if I think someone is afraid of critique don't make your work public. You don't go out on a stormy day without an umbrella and not expect to get wet. Anything else falls in the grey area of constructive criticism...

 

My apologies if it offends. I certainly find no fault in the phrasing or the contents of this.

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Musket, I have a few drops of Viking blood running in my veins ( who'd have guessed :rolleyes: ), so I must disagree. My avatar is in fact a Viking portrayal of Thor, the God of thunder.

Perhaps in the popular imagination Vikings were surly, unresponsive brutes, but if we consider their very strong oral tradition, their storytelling competitions and poetry etc, I think we get a different view of these sensitive, brave and inquisitive seafarers :D . The tales that have come down to us of their Gods are also very revealing with regard to the Viking psyche.

 

It was probably that stoic protrayal of "Erik the Red" ( I think ) by Kirk Douglas that has so misrepresented these terribly misunderstood fellows. :D

 

but I digress...

 

Well like I said, in the popular imagination. No diagreement from me, I know a fair amount about Viking culture (though I sointenly got no Viking blood in my veins :D ).

 

Didn't mean to imply that's what they were really like. Just that most people who don't know about their culture are gonna imagine a Frank Frazetta illustration of a musclebound barbarian with an axe or indeed, if they're old enough, Kirk Douglas gritting his teeth when they think of Vikings.

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Guest ford hallam

I know I mentioned Kirk Douglas but I'm really not that old! :rolleyes:

 

and you obviously know those chaps certainly spread their "oats" far and wide, so may have some berserk blood after all! :D

 

and yes, you did say "in the popular imagination", sorry, reading too quickly!

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Here are some observations made on the Standing Viking.

The pose is a static pose by nature, he is just looking out. That does not mean that it has to look static or lifeless though.

My first impression of the sculpture is that there is no movement in the piece. The hair is windswept but nothing else has any movement. By simple adding angle in the drapery with the direction of the wind movement would be created and there would be added tension throughout the peice. The drapery on the kilt in back is to perfect, like a curtain. Drapery is difficult but no matter how thick or thin the material of the drapery is it would not be so symmetrical, I can't tuck my shirt in perfectly in the back either.

Marble has a luminosity that comes from crystals in the material and the light color reflects light while Granite is dark and dense absorbing light. Sculpture is all about light and shadow. If the work was in marble the life in the sculpture would change dramatically but you would lose the rustic quality of the subject matter. Deeper undercuts in key areas like under the hand on the knee, around some of the folds and in other areas where there is pressure applied would enhance or create tension in the peice. Simply tilting the head up slightly and splaying the legs apart a few inches would have created a less casual appearence introducing more drama with a more warrior like stance.

What I find more interesting is the face, shoulders and hands. The face has an intensity about it and looks to be a man in his late thirties as do his hands. The hands a rough, aged and look like they have been used. The fact they they are a little over-sized helps to convey the fact as well. The shoulders do not fit the body, they are to narrow. Wider shoulders would add strength, presence and more of a warrior quality. Vikings fought, rowed ships and farmed...strong shoulders!

The seated warrior has a torn sheild and shirt sleeves, this guy is a pretty boy by comparision. With the exception of his axe all is perfect...to perfect. There should be flaws somewhere to show that he is a warrior or worker.

I think his anatomy is awfully good. Figurative sculpture has always used exaggeration and illusion to convey intent. The hand and feet on Rodin sculptures are greatly oversized. Michelangelo's David has a head out of proportion to the body. Degas's Ballerinas are thin and elongated.

In the end it is all a matter of preference. I personally do not like the Mona Lisa and it says nothing to me while Vemeer's Woman with a Pearl Earring says volumes.

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I'm going to request that that be the end of commentary on this piece. I should have made it clearer that I had posted it out of courtesy to the artist. I think that if a piece is up in that manner, where the artist is not a member and not posting their own work, there should not be this extensive critical commentary. I feel that's my prerogative as a member to request. Thanks.

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Guest ford hallam

You are probably right Jim, no need to keep flogging a dead horse :rolleyes: .

 

I do think though, that this thread, despite the discomfort felt by some, has been very valuable. It is clear that members are hesitant to say what they really think for fear of offending, and yet it would appear that there is a real desire to hear honest, considered critique. From what we've read here it would seem that the experience and expertise to offer this, is already present. I feel sure that were we to establish the ground rules we would see a much livelier ( and useful ) interaction between our members.

 

Thanks, Ford

 

p.s. and at least one new member evidently joined us so that he could comment here, welcome Mark.

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I honestly feel like I am taking a risk here by posting this. I joined the forum because I was impressed by the information, level of work and the sharing of opinions. There is a great deal to be impressed by!

The two sculptures are great work, in truth better figurative work than mine. The level of knowledge and skill taken to carve such realism shows true dedication, the man has a passion. This opinion should have been put forth before any critical statements.

In my post I tried not to be negative or judgemental. Ideas were put forth over what percieved weaknesses were and what I thought would be solutions. From the previous posted comments my thoughts were mild in comparison although specific. The posts was also ended with the comment that it was all a matter of taste.

Imagine my suprise when I revisit the forum and the thread had been closed due to my extensive criticism. It felt like the newbie had been smacked.

From my experience work is always criticised regardless of where it is and who is looking at it. It does not matter what show, which gallery or format the work is presented in. Usually the comments are harsh and direct without sensitivity. Sensitivity..good word! It is what gives an artist their vision, gives them the ability to create subtle beauty. It is also the word that gets in our way, holds us back and sets us apart. Can there be criticism in this environment?

The solution could be as simple as making a statement when a picture is posted...open for critique or for veiwing only.

Sorry to have stirred the water.

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Mark, I apologize. I understand how it appears that I asked for closure as a response to your post, but that's not the case. I should have done it a few posts back. I think your comments are thoughtful and well presented, and express some humility. It's also nice to hear a call for sensitivity and positive comment.

 

Sorry for my awkwardness. :(

 

You are certainly welcome here.

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Hi There,

I must say that I've followed this thread with a faint smile on my face - it seems so hard to not take opinions, especially when critical, personally. I liked the sculpture mtself, but can see the lack of dynamic energy as well - I rarely see modern figurative sculpture that really moves me, so it is not a surprise. I understand Jim's feelings as this is a post of another's work rather that his own and a good friend's to boot. But life is much smoother if we see opinions for what they are and allow them to be. I truly see no offense intended in anyone's posts.

In Love and Light,

Magnus

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