This is a 13th-14th century Yuan Dynasty figurine that I found in China. The body was made from a mold while the arms and hands were individually sculpted. The modeling on this one is quite fine in contrast to other examples I looked at.
I have been working on some statues and tinkering with iconic sculpture. Here is Michaelangelo's David with something sinister going on. This is a small component of a large sculpture, that will make sense later.
Concept stuff for the current project. Everything begins with drawing and prototypes. These were done earlier this summer at the residency and are becoming a reality. Three artists, some fine materials, and a couple of months later, the future is near.
We have a new studio for the the next three months at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Here is our private studio and the ceramics studio. There is tons of space here and plenty of support. Katie and I have several large projects already underway and its just day 2.
We'll all take turns I'll get mine, too This monkey's gone to heaven.
Monkey Gone to Heaven, The Pixies
Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis work collaboratively as Future Retrieval, the monkey sculpture they created for (Im)material Artefacts looks like it has just raided an antique shop. The monkey is balancing a teapot on his head, a greyhound ornament rests gracefully between his legs, and it is clutching an Egyptian shabti and an archaic rider figure in his big hands. The monkey is a 3D scan of a battered automaton Parker and Davis found in an upstate New York antique mall, his loot is made up of 3D scans of ceramic artefacts from the National Museum Cardiff.
“We are often drawn to grotesque mannerist figures” Parker explains “the moving monkey automaton looked beat up, unfixable, pathetic, but saveable.”
The title Monkey Heaven was inspired by a pop song by the Pixies; by infusing artefacts with contemporary meaning Future Retrieval are making old objects relevant and tying them into present-day culture. “We are searching to reanimate old tattered things, to make them precious,” explains Davis. “Although our work can be quite funny we are respectful towards the objects we work with, towards their histories,” Parker explains, “we do not want to destroy or humiliate.” Davis agrees, that the objects they gather and work with are more than mere props and shapes; “we have respect for the material and subject matter we work with, we riff off the objects.” The joy Future Retrieval have in their work shows in the finished pieces; “maybe I’m the monkey” Davis muses “and I’m in heaven, juggling with these objects, celebrating these things from the past.”
Some process images of things I was working on while in Jingdezhen this last December. Finished images still to come.
I gained a little more control of blue and white painting, something I want to pursue further. The imagery came from a Ming Dynasty shard I found that I thought looked quite contemporary, I stylized it a bit further though.
After some minor trial and error the giant rats came out perfect, I ended up buying a porcelain horse that my work fell onto in the kiln which was pretty funny.
Some wheel work also happened that was then passed of to a local artist who specializes in flower making, this is for a show in March.
Of course I can not help myself when I go to China but to work with the image of Mao. I purchased the figures from a family business that still makes these cultural revolution figures, then began painting it with iconographic patterns that I designed thinking of the opium wars, the Shanghai massacre, the great leap forward, and other major events.
With the table loaded with giant rats and hawks I had a hard time deciding what to bring to China for the residency at the Pottery Workshop. The Rat 3-d print made the cut, the mold was made in one day, and is drying on top of a public kiln. Hopefully we will get to casting in the next couple of days. Though there is plenty to do here in Jingdezhen, I am also eager to get back to the hawk, maybe one of my most complicated projects yet.
Someone call the Piper. The rat and I go way back and I want to use this guy for some of the more architectural themed projects that are coming up for Future Retrieval. We foresee this 3-d scan of the freeze dried rat printed out about the size of a Gremlin, maybe..
Everything begins with drawing, and this presents up and coming projects for Katie and I. Visual references adress the architecture of Etienne-Louis Boullee the visionary pre- neo classical architect, the temple of love by Adolph Strauch who was the landscape architect for Spring Grove Cemetery, among many of the parks in Cincinnati, Arts and Crafts ceramic design, Dutch still life painting, and my own taxidermy projects as statue. This suggests idealistic society, abundance in trade, and a quest for immortality. We will be fleshing out this project through many means both 2-d and 3-d.
I have been talking about it for quite some time but finally the hawk project is underway. I will never be able to match my hero John James Audubon, but my pursuit is also a different one.
Among the worlds best flyers the Coopers Hawk is a swift, agile, and agressive hunter of other birds, typically killing by repetitively clenching down on its victim with its large sharp talons. These raptors will also prey on rodents and small mammals in the same fashion.
So dynamic in its hunting prowess "Strikers" often suffer injuries and even death by crashing into woodland obstacles during a chase, which may have been the untimely circumstance of the specimen here.
Heres something we nerded out on. In order to 3-d print this 20+ inch bear from scan data it needed to be sliced up to fit within the powder printer. On the left each box indicates the build area I am restricted to with our machines. Once I received the finished part it was partially reassembled and molds were taken. Each of the lower sections requires about 4 gallons of casting slip to fill the mold, when all of the 7 parts are cast ( legs are separate too) it is fully reassembled and hand finished. In the center you can see the original little bear.
I picked up this jumbo frozen feeder rat destined to become the meal for someones exotic python from the neighborhood pet shop where they stock these frozen critters as pet food . My usual natural history source is supplying rats that are way too fat, so I decided to shop local. I also found a taxidermy studio in the area with a freeze drier that does custom work, they freeze dry wild game trophies and peoples cats and so forth. I will be building my own soon. I think I have too projects on my plate.
Hot off the hydraulic press here is just a little sample of the fireplace mural we have been working on at Rookwod Pottery, these tiles are 12 inches each . Its a utopian vision gone wrong, a topsy turvy community where you must watch your back, while culture and heritage are also being thrown out to the dogs.
Here are some practice shots for some photogrammetry tests. I love this analog stop motion animation, but eventually this information will be stitched together into a 3-d model. Here is a Vole and Lenin, a subterranean rodent followed by the soviet revolutionary. I am still looking for a way to refine the digital processing of fur.
Couple more images of Mao that I made in China. The image on the left " the mastermind" is one of the favorite things I have made in a while, the masked monkey is complete with prison tats, unkept toe nails, and of course some vegetation to cover his nakedness.
On the right is an unglazed Mutation so you can see the form without the metallic coating shown on the previous post below.
As the story is told in China,their method of Physical vapor deposition was invented by the Soviet Union in the 1960's during nuclear research. There are other industrial uses for this thin film metal coating including plating metal cutting tools and electrical conductivity. It seemed appropriate to make this mutated, PVD, porcelain Mao while saturating myself in the history and rhythms of the sculpture factory.