Friday, December 12, 2014


This bust is a portrait of Margaret, daughter of Bob Scriver, a sculptor.  She was born in June, 1938, and died in 1968.  The portrait was made in her hospital room in Anacortes, WA, as she grew close to death from cancer.  The early years of her first marriage were in Valier and her four children were born here. 

There's much to be said, but I want to address the immediacy of contact when a person looks at this sculpture.  In some ways it is more intense than meeting the actual person was.  What Scriver told Margaret was that he was portraying her as a woman on the prairie with the wind in her hair.  Privately he admitted he was talking about the cold wind of death, a metaphor.  He did not tell her he had named the piece "To See Eternity."  For a long time he didn't make a mold, though it was a simple job, because of the sense memory embedded in the plastilene by his fingers.  Oil-based clay feels almost like human skin, but is vulnerable to distortion from any impact or even too much heat.  Still, being able to put his hands on the plastilene was like feeling her alive.

"Who Gives All Gifts" is Tim Holmes' memorial to his parents, the Reverend Bob Holmes and his wife, Polly.  This statue is an eight-foot (heroic-sized) bronze at St. Paul's Methodist Church in Helena, MT.  Rev. Bob, a retired Methodist minister, served St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Helena for many years and was the author of the popular radio and TV series of one-minute "Lifelifters." He was a chaplain of the Helena Police Department for 22 years and Harley-riding chaplain of Rocky Mountain College from 1965-1981.  Polly was equally distinguished and dedicated.  She died weeks after her husband in 2005.

Here is the sculptor, Tim Holmes:  Erotic crisis: Tim Holmes at TEDxWhitefish   He will be presenting this talk again as a keynote at the Earl Lectures in Berkeley next month.  It convinces us of the joyful eros of the human body.  The short film included is entitled "Fear to Wonder," an apt phrase for Christmas or Solstice, either one -- both.  

The dynamic work seems to move as you look at it and, in fact, he has moved to working with dance on video, integrating poetry by writing it directly on the dancers.  I'll come back to Tim for another post because there is so much to say about this family.

Recently I discovered a tumblr website:  It's "porn" in the sense that it's intensely appealing and selected for human beings.  But also, of course, you know that some consider any body that isn't clothed to be porn.

Some of this sculpture is classical, some mythical, some (since the blog owner is young) Goth, some obscured, all human figures.

Veiled Vestal Virgin by Raffaelle Monti. 1846-1847, Marble.

Untitled by Kara Skrakowski. 2011, Oil-based clay.

Terra secco study of old man. Unaired clay has a quality that is lost in firing. 
It does not preserve the look of freshly modeled clay, but it’s better.

 Bacchanale Russe, Malvina Cornell Hoffman, 1912.

Located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

(Malvina Hoffman was Bob Scriver's heroine.)


Cameron Stalheim

Divininer (Reverse Side) 

That's enough images for one post.  Do a bit of exploring for yourself.  These sculptures do not really need titles and attribution -- they speak for themselves, either in their earnest attempt at accurate depiction of an entity moving through a stop-time second, or in their distortion of what is actual in order to entice us in more deeply.  For the truest intimacy is insight.  You could call it spiritual if you wanted to.  Be careful about saying "religious,"i.e. institutional.

It's unclear whether this is a broken maquette or a preparation,
but it is Bernini's "Saint Therese".  When I sent a preview to Tim Holmes, 
he said he was actually allowed to hold this when he was at the Hermitage. has near the top of the sequence a beguiling and "moving" (in both senses) presentation of Bernini's Saint Therese at the height of her orgasmic experience of union with God.  I don't know how to move the video over here and I'm not sure Blogspot would support it, but the comment is relevant so here it is:

"No one before Bernini had managed to make marble so carnal. In his nimble hands it would flatter and stream, quiver and sweat. His figures weep and shout, their torses twist and run, and arch themselves in spasms of intense sensation. He could, like an alchemist, change one material into another - marble into trees, leaves, hair, and, of course, flesh."
     -   Simon Schama’s Power of Art. Bernini
This link should take you there.

When Margaret died, this Pieta was Scriver's response.
He was not religious but he was spiritual.

No comments: