Monday, February 15, 2010

Sculpture: the abstract human figure

In our previous project, you were introduced to subtractive sculpture. The faces you have been carving out of plaster are relief sculptures-- they are meant to be viewed from the front only.

For this project, you will be creating another subtractive sculpture out of plaster. However, this time, you will be making a full round sculpture (also known as a free-standing sculpture). Full round sculptures can be viewed from any angle. The subject matter for this sculpture will be an abstract human figure.

Jean Arp

Abstract sculpture: sculptures that may be based on actual objects, but where the objects have been simplified, stylized, distorted, or otherwise altered to the point were they may become difficult or impossible to recognize.

In this blog post, we will be looking at the work of three modern artists that are known for their abstract sculptures of human figures-- Henry Moore, Jean Arp, and Barbara Hepworth. These sculptures were created over several decades in the 1900s.

After you look at the pictures below, there will be a few questions for you to answer-- answer by making a comment down at the bottom of this post.

(Sorry-- I don't have titles for these sculptures-- they are numbered for your convenience so that you may refer to individual pieces in your answers to the questions.)

Henry Moore

British sculptor Henry Moore is probably the most well-known of the three sculptors we will be looking at. Moore worked in stone, wood, and bronze, and plaster.

Note the progression of style in his sculpture, how he moves from figures that are stylized but recognizable to figures that become increasingly abstract.





Henry Moore making a plaster maquette




Barbara Hepworth

Also from Great Britain, Hepworth and Moore met in college, and remained friends throughout their lives. Together, they played a major role in defining modernism in sculpture.

Hepworth carving a block of stone






Jean Arp (a.k.a. Hans Arp)

French/German artist Jean Arp came out of the Surrealist movement in the earlier twentieth century, and was a member of the movement known as Dada. Arp was a sculptor, painter, and poet.

Arp in his studio, surrounded by plaster sculptures






1. What kinds of things did Moore do to simplify the human figure and make it more abstract?

2. Look at the series of sketches by Moore (#4). What is he doing with these sketches? Describe in detail; be specific.

3. Look at the picture of Hepworth carving a block of stone. What exactly is she doing, and how is she doing it?

4. Would you say that Hepworth's gender (female) has anything to do with the appearance of her work? If so, what? If not, why not?

5. Compare and contrast-- How is Arp's and Moore's work similar? How is it different?

Answer these questions by making a "comment" below.

Please give detailed answers-- at least 2 or 3 sentences. Use whole sentences, and think about what you are going to say before you answer.


We will be starting this project next week. Before you begin carving your plaster, you will be required to produce a series of sketches (similar to what Moore has done in picture #4). You will then make a clay model of your sculpture-- this will help you to see where you will need to go with carving your plaster.


anthony said...

1. the figures he made are smooth and most are missing a head. most of his figures look simple because they consist of only a torso.

2. in his sketches he takes pieces of body parts and lays them in random places.

3. it looks like she is taking randome pieces away from the block to make an abstract looking figure.

4.i don't know if it's her gender that makes a difference, but definitley their styles are different.

5.his work includes the whole body, and everything he makes seams more stick like. her work only shows the torso and bits of leg and arms, and her work is more curvey.

celia eddy

anthony said...

1. Moore did a few different things to make his human figures abstract. One technique he used was changing the proportion of the body parts. For instance, he would make the head small and slender compared to the rest of the body. A second thing he did was combining body parts, or leaving them out all together. For example, in sculpture number 5, he sort of fuses together the legs, and the arms are hardly there at all.

2. In Moore's sketches, he starts with a relatively recognizeable sketch of the human figure, and distorts it in different ways as he goes down the page. In some, he picks out one feature from the human body (the breasts, or face) and makes that the only human-like quality in the drawing, surrounded by an abstract blob.

3. Hepworth is using a hammer and chisel to chip away at the stone and get the desired form. I imagine that she also goes back and smooths out the places that she chipped.

4. A few of her sculptures include what looks like a small child, something that is not featured in the other sculptures. This may be her maternal side coming out to show motherhood and fertility in her art.

5. There is something very fluid about arp's sculpture, something that is not seen very much in Moore's. Arp's sculpture shows the curves of the head and abdomen, without depicting the spindly limbs of Moore's sculpture. However, as they work more and more abstractly, their work looks very similar. I believe that this is because there are only so many ways to make a blob.

Kayla Friess!!!

anthony said...

1.) Moore simplified the human figure by dropping anatomical details and bulking and curving the figure of the body. The basic form of the body was kept, but exact definitions were dropped.
2.) Moore is sketching out the basic shape and form ofwhat he is going to be doing, with different types of marks and colors he shows the definition of what he wishes the figure to look like in 3D form.
3.)She is carving away the bulk of the stone and smoothing it out to be the shape she wishes it to be with a hammer and a chisel.
4.)I think that her forms may be a little bit more feminine, but I do not think that her work is distinctly different because she is a female, she knows the female form very well, obviously, and most likely creates from what she knows, but that does limit her to only female figures.
5.) Arp and Moore have very similiar work by the means of the curves and smoothness of their pieces.
The differences are that Arp seems to only use plaster and dark stone, as Moore uses things like different lighter stones and possiby wood.

Caitlin DeMara

anthony said...

1. Henry Moore simplified the human figure by removing details such as hands and feet. He sculpted away the body to the most minimal of details, creating an organic shape that could be loosely identified as the human.
2. In his sketches, Henry Moore is practicing his rendering of the human body through different poses. Some of the figures are more detailed and some are more abstract. He may be trying to figure out how simple the figure can look while still looking like a human body.
3. Hepworth is using a hammer and chisel to gradually remove excess stone to create the figure she desires.
4. Her being female may have influenced her to create sculptures inspired by motherhood. For example, in picture one of her's, it looks like a mother and her child.
5. Arp's and Moore's sculptures are both made of organic shapes and few sharp edges. However, Arp's are more easily distinguished as human bodies.

joe humphreys

anthony said...

1. Not much to say but the obvious - he made it look less human and more like just a shapeless blob.

2. I would assume ideasand preliminary brainstorming for sculptures.

3. She is using a hammer and chizel.

4. Well, as compared to Moore's, she doesnt seem to be obsessed with somehow managing to put breasts on every single one of her pieces as Moore seems to do.. repeatedly.

5. Arp to me doesn't seem to be portraying images of the human body at all while a few of Moore's pieces at least look slightly similar.

Lindsey Burcar

anthony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Syrcan said...

1) He combined simple shapes that represented human limbs, whilst adding as little detail as possible.

2)In this picture Moorse has three basic forms he is sketching. As you go across the page, you'll notice he alters the scupture in various ways. In some, he enlarges and simplifies different limbs, or flip the figure upside down as to distort it more. He's playing with different sizes and placements to see how many different interpretaions he can get out of one figure.

3)Hepworth is using a hammer and chisle to dig different sized holes into a block of odd-shaped stone.

4)I think her being females does not affect her work. Two of her sculptures have what could be interpreted as a "baby" sculptures( # 1 and2). However, Moore has curvy figures as well as Hepworth. So, I don't think there is a big difference.

5)Moore and Arp both like to stick to a similar position for all of their figures. Arp likes having his figures free standing, where as Moore likes to have his figures in a sitting/ laying position. So, you can say they are both "themed" in their figures. However, Moore's figures seem to keep a kind of realistic approach unlike Arp who falls fully into abstract.

anthony said...

1.He seem to add a more smooth and round feel to the sculptures with a much more simple look to them by removing the definite human shape.
2. He's taking the human forms of women a cutting them down in details, making them more simple and well rounded.
3. She is carving a block with a hammer and a chizzle just like the ancient Geeks did with their sculptures.
4. I believe her gender does have to do with the appearence of her work, because if u look closely all the pieces shown, they have somewhat of a female form to them only simplified.
5. Both artist seem to enjoy modeling their sculptures after the female form, but Moore's art is a little more abstract in terms of having a human form and Arp's work seems extremely focused on giving his art a humanoid form while trying to keep it abtract.

AnthonyB. 3:P

anthony said...

1.He the human sculptures look more abtract by showing different forms of body curves and shadow. 2.He is making it less human and more rounded to show shadow. 3.One she is chizzling, two. she is creating form for her sculpture by chizzling in it. 4.That shouldn't matter on gender, but most people think it should. 5.Some of the material are the same and both their work looks more like blobs, there is no detail in any of them, just curves and shadows.
Kurt Brush

anthony said...

1. Ignored details liek facial features and in some cases melded the legs together rather then makes then seperate appendages

2. He made a reference sheet so he could see the piece from all angles and decide what shapes go where.

3. She's making a dubtractive sculpture by carving away at the stone with a hammer and chisel

4. Yes. Her pieces don't seem as focused on the females figure as the other two, male, artists do.

5. They bother focus on the females figure but Arp's are more based on curves where as Moore's look more recognizably human.


anthony said...

1. To simplify the human figure Moore didn't add a lot of detail to the face or other parts of the body. His sculpures are also uneven. Like one leg is bigger than the other. Also in some of the sculptures you can tell that it is a human body, but the sculpture doesn't have a face or it only has one leg.

2. In Moore's sketches it looks like he started with a normal human body and as the sketches went on things were added and subtracted to make the sketches look more abstract. He also sketched more then one figure with different details and views of the body.

3. Well she is carving a stone into an abstract sculpture. She is doing this with a malot and chisle.

4. No, I don't think that Hepworth being a gril has anything to do with it. The first few sculptures of hers look like there is a little kid with an adult or mother. This could have something to do with her being a girl, but I think her sculptures are similar to Arp's sculptures.

5. To me Moore's work you can tell that it is actually a body. Moore's sculptures have a little bit more detail than Arp's. Arp's work I think is more abstract. In some of Arp's work you can tell that the sculptures look like a body, but it is more abstract.


anthony said...

1) He would distort the figure, exaggerating on certain parts of the body, making it un proportionate. His sculptures usually didn’t have much of face either.
2) It looks like he is testing different ways to make the human figure look abstract.
3) She is chipping away at the block of stone with a hammer and chisel.
4) I could see how Hepworth's gender might influence the appearance of her work in picture number 1, because it seems to be a mother holding a child.
5) There’s something about Arp's sculpture that is softer. The sculptures of Moore are much hard with sharp angles. Where as Arp's always have round and curvy shapes. But their styles are, of course, still similar because there abstract human figures...and there's only so many ways to do that. madeline toro

anthony said...

1. Moore simplified the human figure and made it more abstract by not separating the legs in most of his pieces. He also made many of his figures wide and curvey.

2. He made these sketches as a reference to how he wants the sculpture to look. He made the sketches different from one another by placing them in different directions. This will help him make each angle of the figure.

3. She is carving away pieces of stone using a chisel and hammer. She is doing this by placing the end of the chisel against the stone and tapping the other end of the chisel with the hammer.

4. Her gender might have played a role in her work. The sculptures she made in pictures 1 and 2 look like a mother holding her child. That could represent her nurturing side.

5.Both Arp's and Moore's work is abstract. However, Arp's work is more abstract and doesn't show the whole figure like Moore's work.
Rebecca Reichenbach

anthony said...

1. He really didnt put any detail in the figure. Like its all smoothed out.

2.It really doesnt look huan but the different features he puts into it lets you know that it is a body.

3.She is using a hammer and chizzle.

4.I think its her gender so it would more than likely be easier for her to do a woan than a man.

5.Her work is basically the torso and arms but his work is the whole body

Alex said...

1. Moore makes his human figures abstract by changing the proportion of the body parts, like, the size of the head of some of his sculptures. He also combines the body parts together, not making them defined.

2. In his sketches he basically draws what he wants his figure to resemble. Some of his sketches the body parts look distorted.

3. Hepworth is craving into with a hammer and chisel to take away from the block of stone to make the figure look abstract.

4. I could see how her gender influences her work because figure 1 is curvy like a women’s body.

5. Their work is both abstract but in different ways. Arp’s work is more abstract and curvier. Moore’s works is more whole body figures and are a little more defined.

anthony said...

1. The kinds of things Moore did to simplify the human figure and make it abstract was he didnt put to much detail into the bodys and gave them either simple faces or no faces also he didnt work or concentrate on the proportions of the bodys.
2. In his sketchs he is he starts with the dimensions of a body ad kind of twists and turns them changeing them.

anthony said...

1. What kinds of things did Moore do to simplify the human figure and make it more abstract?
British sculptor Henry Moore is probably the most well-known of the three sculptors. Moore worked in stone, wood, and bronze, and plaster.

2. Look at the series of sketches by Moore (#4). What is he doing with these sketches? Describe in detail; be specific.
He is using materials like pencils, pen and ink, chalk and watercolor on paper. Unlike Moore's usually preparatory sketches for his sculpture, a series of drawings of Londoners huddled in tube stations during World War II air raids stand on their own as works of art.

3. Look at the picture of Hepworth carving a block of stone. What exactly is she doing, and how is she doing it?
She is using hammer and chisels to carve harder stones. Hammer and chisels were hard work – aching arms every day – especially wrists from gripping the tools.

4. Would you say that Hepworth's gender (female) has anything to do with the appearance of her work? If so, what? If not, why not?
An artist who never received the level of attention given to her male contemporaries, Hepworth strongly felt that women artists could contribute greatly to an understanding of the visual arts. "Perhaps especially," she said, "in sculpture, for there is a whole range of formal perception belonging to feminine experience."

5. Compare and contrast-- How is Arp's and Moore's work similar? How is it different?
They are both sculptors, but Arp was painter, and poet. Moore worked in stone, wood, and bronze, and plaster.

Anonymous said...

1. Moore didn't go into major detail. He got the feel for a particular type of posture and worked off of that. Also, in some of his pieces, he leaves out limbs or enlarges them.

2. Moore sketches the silhouette of his figures out first and then fills it in with raw detail. He wants the essence of the human figure without all of the actual detail.

3. In this photograph, it looks like Hepworth is either defining a depression she's made in the stone or smoothing out some piece of her work and she's doing it with a hammer and a chisel.

4. I think Hepworth's gender does have something to do with her work because most of her sculptures resemble motherhood. In number's one and two, we see one large sculpture and another smaller one positioned on top like a mother carrying her child.

5. Arp and Moore are similar in their work because both shoot for an abstract version of the human figure. You can always tell they used the human form as inspiration but left out detail. Their work differs because Arp has a more symmetrical and smoother look to his sculptures whereas Moore's sculptures are rough and messy.

Alex Aniol

Anonymous said...

test comment....

kayla clark said...

most of these sculptures are really nice. It makes your think what it actually is.

Anonymous said...

1. Moore simplified the figure and exaggerated some of the features by changing the proportions.

2. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm looking at these, and I'm a little scared.
However, I think he's doing something with simplifying them rididculously (like just being 'sloppy'(?), and drawing the basic form.) They're really distorted.

3. She's carving down the block using a hammer and chisel. She's subtracting from the stone to make an abstract figure.

4. I really don't think her gender has anything to do with her work. Anyone can make a 'feminine' figure. It's just a coincidence she's female.

5. I guess they're similar in that you could both tell it's a human figure, and they're both very smooth and fluid. I'd say they're different because Moore's work is far more human (there's more human features in his work).

Annie Siwak

Anonymous said...

1. What kinds of things did Moore do to simplify the human figure and make it more abstract?
Most over exaggarated on their body parts. Mainly on the stomach, thighs and legs.

2. Look at the series of sketches by Moore (#4). What is he doing with these sketches? Describe in detail; be specific.
He was over emphisizing a lot of peoples normal body parts to much larger or smaller ones.

3. Look at the picture of Hepworth carving a block of stone. What exactly is she doing, and how is she doing it?
She was carving out holes into the plaster with her carving tools.

4. Would you say that Hepworth's gender (female) has anything to do with the appearance of her work? If so, what? If not, why not?
Yes, because a lot of her sculptures had a lot to do with a woman and a child.

5. Compare and contrast-- How is Arp's and Moore's work similar? How is it different?

Their work is very smiliar with making their sculptures abstract and overexaggerating on their body parts but with Moore you could be able to point out the body parts more and tell what they were compared to Arps work. Arp also mainly focused more on the body itself.
-Chanell Marko

Anonymous said...

Kaleb Gorde

1) He exagerated the human body, taking the basic shapes and bending and twisting them, all while mmaking sure they could be at least somewhat identifiable as human.

2) With these sketches Moor has shown how he minipulates the human form in a way that, while still being somewhat unsettleing and nteresting.

3) She's using a chisle. It breaks peices of the rock away. It dose this buy hitting the rock.

4) I don't think it effects her work that much. I can see that her sexuality, however, seems to effect it. Her sculptures seem to be more masculine in nature compared to the other's works. This is, of course, assuming she is heterosexual or bisexual with heterosexual leanings.

5)While both have very femminine works, Arp's sculptures have thick yet stumpy limbs, while Moore's seem to have more elongated and gangly limbs with more bulky bodies

Anonymous said...

nya holliday

Q1 well i beleive that he took body parts away to make the human figure look more abstract.
Q2 well in figure 4 it seems to me that he takes the normal human body and kinda play with it ( move thigs around), he takes and or adds on to the human body!
Q3 hepworth seems to be takeing awar prts of the sculpture using a hammer and chisel.
Q4 I think that she do get alot of her insperation from the women body afrter all she is a women but i also think she gets it from other places as well.
Q5 to me moore sculptures is alot more abstract then hepworth. when lookig at one of hepworth sculptures its pretty easy to reconize what it is ! but moores actully make you think / wonder !

Anonymous said...

1. What kinds of things did Moore do to simplify the human figure and make it more abstract?
He made human sculptures and took off most of the limbs and smoothed them over making them look like an abstract shape.

2. Look at the series of sketches by Moore (#4). What is he doing with these sketches? Describe in detail; be specific. It looks like hes starting out with the human body and adding and subtracting things until he ends up with an abstract shape.

3. Look at the picture of Hepworth carving a block of stone. What exactly is she doing, and how is she doing it? Shes sculpting it into an abstract shape. By chizeling and stuff.

4. Would you say that Hepworth's gender (female) has anything to do with the appearance of her work? If so, what? If not, why not? No. Because everyone has their own way of doing art?

5. Compare and contrast-- How is Arp's and Moore's work similar? How is it different? Its abstract

Jessica Hanselman said...

1. Moore simplified the human body by not adding much detail to his works.
With all of the sketch’s Moore is taking the shape of a womans body and is distorting it in many different ways to form something different.’

3. Hepworth is using a hammer and chisel to carve this block of stone so that it forms what she wants it to be.

4. Her sculptures take different shapes and the ones that seem to based on a human figure they have another smaller figure added with them.

5. Arp’s and Moore’s work are similar because they both are abstract and different but Arp’s tend to be more abstract then Moore’s work

Anonymous said...

1. He used simple shapes, combined for abstract looking shapes. He also removed hands and feet in some sculptures.

2. He starts off with a drawing of a picture closley resembled to a body and as they continue across the page they gradually become more and more abstract and shaped differently.

3. She is chipping the stone off to create her sculpture. I assume she's using a tool such as a chisel and a hammer.

4. Her gender may have played a role in her artwork. 1 and 2 resemble a woman holding a baby which could represent her loving feminine side.

5. Moores wors includes the whole body sculptures. Arp's work focuses on the torso and some legs and arms. They're both made of organic shapes.

-Meghan M.