Rambling on about ‘Sculpture No. 9’…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s existential angst is centred around the sound of the word sludge.
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Sculpture No 9. 2012. Painted hardwood about 14″ high.

You see dear reader, the problem with doing black sculptures is that they are absolute buggers to photograph! It’s all black against black you see – or more to the point, you don’t see! I’ve done my best with this one – messing about with the lighting, rotating her slightly so that you can see a little bit of the green wall through her hole – all sculptures should have a hole in them! And look at the lower part of her ear (by the way, she does have a matching one on the other side) it’s a bit difficult to make out as its shape almost merges away into her head. You’ll have noticed by now that I’ve started referring to this piece as ‘her’ – I don’t know why, I’ve never thought of doing that before.
The wavy stuff on the left is probably her luxuriant hair blowing in the wind as she zooms along on her motorbike – I’ll bet you didn’t know she had a bike, it’s a 1950s Norton Dominator. The piece really does seem to have direction doesn’t it?
Of course, another drawback to photographing sculpture is that sculpture is, by definition, something to be seen from all directions – and possibly walked around slowly with a slightly stooped posture with your hands clasped behind your back Prince Philip style.
So, why do I make them of nice brown hardwood and then paint the buggers black? Well, I know that people do like the beauty-of-the-natural-wood, and oh, the lovely grain, and stuff, but I think it distracts from the form a bit – when it’s all one colour you get the idea of the shape without being distracted by the swirly knots and wavy-wavy wood lines.
There’s something monumental about black though isn’t there? You can’t beat a good thick shiny black tombstone, can you? Perhaps this trait of mine stems from once seeing some ancient Egyptian sculptures in the British Museum many years ago – they were heads of gods, animal and human, done in what I think is called obsidian – a black volcanic glass apparently – how the hell they managed to carve volcanic glass I don’t know! Ah, they looked so very mysterious and classy! (click)

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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6 Responses to Rambling on about ‘Sculpture No. 9’…

  1. Sharon Mann says:

    Well conceived Dave, I think you are right, the black allows us to view this shape without distraction. Another piece for MOMA.

  2. Dana Doran says:

    Your highness, I suppose when you created this piece you didn’t have the benefit of selecting “singularity black,” a color I think I’d love to experiment with – although it might just look like I cut holes in a canvas! It certainly would be a challenge photographing! https://news.artnet.com/art-world/new-photos-vantablack-906158

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