• by Katherine Stanek

The Space Between

My sculpture "Fallen" was selected for good reason by the curators of "Rodin and the Contemporary Figurative Tradition" exhibition to be held at The Frederik Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park opening September 13th, 2017.

The work of Auguste Rodin has always intrigued me. I was not certain why it resonated so profoundly until I became a sculptor. I entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts as a painter and graduated as a sculptor. Once my hands touched clay in a portrait modeling class something changed in me. Physically engaging directly with my material suddenly became an essential component in my creative process. My early works were created in clay then cast in bronze using the same lost wax method employed by Rodin but I did not enjoy every stage of the process. There are necessary steps to achieve my results in bronze that seemed to interfere with the direct physical engagement that I craved. They became just steps in a process that seemed to deplete the energy in my work. Meanwhile, as I continued my studies of human anatomy to capture the naturalism I desired, my work seemed to be losing it's emotion. Rodin's work emits the energy I feel while I am creating and it was may desire to harness that energy. The chisel marks, seam lines and even distortions of proportion and movement do not diminish that feeling of life in his work. I once thought that anatomical accuracy was the only way to capture life or evoke emotion. With the influence of Rodin, I am of a different opinion. The understanding of anatomy and movement is essential in capturing a feeling, a mood, a gesture, an essence but it does have to be right in order to feel right. This new way of thinking was liberating. I finally allowed myself to let go of the processes and formalities in favor of instinct and emotion. I now work in concrete enjoying, engaging and embracing every moment of the process.

"Fallen" is a prime example of this approach. The rendering of "Fallen" is not based on a singular moment frozen in time. Instead, every surface fragment is capturing a part of the figure in a slightly different position taken from a different moment in time as the figure is falling. This depiction of movement in time and space is just confusing enough to question but still reads as a singular image. My process involves modeled cement over a steel armature. I change my design mix and colors with every layer applied capturing a moment in time. I allow the material to fracture and chemically alter the color as it cures. When I carve or fracture the material to create a form, it reveals a color, texture and decision of a past moment in time. This element of change plays an important role in my work. Nature is constantly changing, there is always change and movement. Even when a model is posing, they are indeed moving, it is impossible not to. Everything has a past, present and future. The past is fixed and does not change serving as a foundation. The future is unknown, confusing and easily influenced by the past which leaves the present a vulnerable fleeting moment that exists in the space between. "Fallen" is about capturing that angst and confusion without leaving the viewer in that state.

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