Elemental Man Series
The Elemental Man series is derived from an in-depth study of the human male. The development of the series started with a number of nude photographic shoots documenting the physical attributes of the male form performing everyday actions and movements. The photographic reference was used to create a series of realistic figurative oil paintings that illustrate the movement of the male figure. The paintings allowed the artist to explore the reference material in-depth and to transcribe it at an intellectual level. It is during this phase of the creative process that the conceptual value of a body of work is defined and the series forms its own identity. As this series is part of an ongoing study of the human condition, it is not only the physical attributes of the male form that is studied but rather the male as a whole, mind ,body and soul.
The painted works act as a filter between the photographic material collected during the research shoots and the sculpture pieces that are ultimately created. The subject matter of the photographs is the models from the shoot, the subject matter for the paintings is the photographs of the models and the subject matter of the sculptures is the painted works. This multiple step development of this series bears an interesting resemblance to the multiple step processes used in the sculpturing and finishing of three dimensional artworks. First the original “soft copy” is carved and formed then it is moulded and cast in a hard medium like resin. The “master copy” allows for a higher level of refinement and will be moulded to produce the final editions that in turn are individually cast, refined and finished by hand.
The research into a new subject matter starts at roots level in the studio with the first photographic shoot. Meeting the models often creates a first impression that will permeate throughout the entire body of work. As the sculptures are all about the subtleties, it is often the subtleties of the subject that define the work. The process of photographing, drawing and painting becomes a way in which the physical attributes of the model is programmed into the artist’s mind in order to fluently express the fundamental dynamics of the form during sculpturing. Strangely, it is the “research” done while having a coffee break and making small talk that reveals the true nature of a person’s temperament and it is this element that sets the tone for the series.
The elemental man series depicts the morphology of man in its elemental form, uninhibited by complex detail. The sculptures are impressionistic, capturing only that which the artist chooses to reveal about the subject. The simplified form embodies the essence of the subject and its relative action. A person’s actions and personality have a natural association with a relevant temperament and each temperament has its own association with a physical element. For example: A running man would be displaying an energetic temperament associated with the burning of energy and the burning of energy relates to fire. The references to elements in the series places man firmly in the realm of nature and as part of nature, not separate from it. It is from this perspective that the elemental man series was conceived.