View Full Version : What makes a great sculpture
01-15-2002, 08:59 PM
I feel confident in judging a 2D work that I know what to look for. And now we have henrik's article (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/509/168/) to help critique.
But how do you critique a sculpture? What do you look for?
01-16-2002, 10:17 AM
Hmm, good question. I look at alot of things actually.
1. How strong do I feel the design of the piece is?
2. Does it flow smoothly and have a nice transition in form?
3. How was it mounted? Does it look as if it was just stuck on a piece of wood or stone? Or does it work together to form one piece of art?
4. I not only judge it by its design and composition, but also on it's colors. Do the colors work well together?
5. The difficulty of the design and process is another factor that I weigh in. Can you see sloppy welding seams (unless they are there for obvious design reasons), or are they smooth and seamless?
6. I also like to see things done that is out of the ordinary. Such as lighting, movement, inlayed work, two mediums formed together, etc.
7. Is it asthetically pleasing to the eye?
8. This is the biggest factor - Do I like this person? hahah just kidding.
These are some things that I factor in when I am judging sculpture.
01-16-2002, 10:52 AM
I agree with Jason – good question
I think sculptures are in two basic categories…
1. Those that represent real life such as people, animals or nature
2. Those that do not represent real life, in other words abstract
Personally I find it easier to judge abstract due to the fact that is what my sculptures are. I find it hard to judge real life sculptures other than looking at proportions and that kind of thing.
Regarding abstract – I tend to look at the form it self, is it pleasing to the eye, do the lines work well together, are the materials working well together if there are more than one, is the medium used appropriate for the piece, are the proportions in line, and finally the craftsmanship.
I looked around on the net to see if I could find other info on this and I thought this was appropriate. For me this is something to consider as I design a sculpture.
1. Precision: This refers to how accurately elements of the sculpture are carved. For example, how repeated elements resemble each other, how well pieces are fitted together, or how completely all-waste material is removed.
2. Proportion: This refers to how different parts or areas of the sculpture relate to one another in terms of relative size.
3. Degree of difficulty: This is whether the sculpture as completed is a challenging project for an experienced professional sculptor. The factors considered here are usually those of fragility, physical balance and the structural limitations.
4. Finish: This refers to the final treatment of the surfaces of the sculpture. This can be smooth and polished, or textured. Whichever is the case, the uniformity and diligence with which the sculptor carries out his apparent intent should be considered.
1. Creativity: This refers to the newness and originality of the design, which could include a new treatment of, or new viewpoint on, previously known ideas.
2. Composition: This refers to the visual balance, static or dynamic, of the various elements of the sculpture. Note that the piece should be viewed from all sides when judging it for composition.
3. Expression of meaning: This is how well the sculpture makes its own theme clear to the viewer. The artist¹s statement, if provided, should be considered in making this judgment.
4. Expression of emotion: This is the extent to which the sculpture can be expected to evoke an emotional response in the viewer.
5. Overall impression: This addresses the sculpture as a whole, and is often based on the first glimpse of the finished piece. Without regard to the other criteria, does it stand on its own as a good sculpture?
01-16-2002, 11:16 AM
Good question :). Well, I don't feel that I am in any way experienced enough to seriously critique anything, but I know what I like and what makes me like it.
The first thing I notice is the way the piece makes me feel. The mood it evokes is much more important to me that most other things. The show I recently attended had sooooo many pieces that made me recoil in disgust that I felt nausous by the time I left. I am not sure if it's because there are so many depressed or ill people doing sculpture or if the gallery just happened to choose a large percentage of them. I respect every artists' right to convey whatever message they want to but it doesn't neccessarily make for good art in my opinion. But, I have difficulty enjoying such pieces. That is not to say that I only enjoy sculpture that makes me feel happy...I like anything that can sucessfully evoke emotion well without removing the enjoyment of the artists statement about the subject.
Secondly I like to feel that a piece has good movement and nice lines that flow well together, although I don't always obtain this myself LOL. I like looking at things that have grace and fluidity, with a little stress somewhere for contrast.
Texture is very important to me...if I want to reach out and touch it I am usually hooked!
Color can be an important factor but obviously not so much as it is in a painting.
Lastly, but extremely important to me is an element of surprise! I love when you notice some little nuance or detail that makes me say "ahha...I almost missed that!"
Great topic Sandra!
01-17-2002, 07:54 AM
Great answers! Thanks folks - that's really helpful.
I think it is useful to have a set of guidelines when looking critically at something as often you can't quite put your finger on what's wrong.
Anyone thinking of giving this thread a star rating? We need 5 votes before the stars show - hint, hint. :D
01-17-2002, 12:56 PM
Thanks for the hint Sandra....you know, I always forget to use that little button down there! We need someone in here reminding us of these little things ocaissionally. I also think this is a very useful topic.
01-17-2002, 08:43 PM
I know what I like, but sometimes it's hard to put a finger on why...This thread has given me things to look for in my own work. It good to have folks that seem to know of what they speak and aren't afraid to speak it.
Just thinking out loud......Could these be put into catagories so that one could ask for grades in each catagory? For example: A catagory for FORM. Another for COLOR, with grades of say 1-10, etc., etc.
Would this be helpful to us beginners? Would it work? Or would it be too much trouble?
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