Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Snow: Familiar Becomes Unfamiliar.

Grounds for Sculpture was founded in 1992 by J. Seward Johnson Jr. He is known more through his art - real-size bronze sculptures - rather than his grandfather, Robert Wood Johnson, the founder of Johnson & Johnson Company. The park and its museum exhibit more than 200 sculptures from different artists as well as pieces by Johnson himself.

It is not a wrong observation to call Seward Johnson an Impressionist sculptor. Apart from his choice of subject matter, which mostly presents regular people in their daily activities, Johnson II translates French Impressionismt paintings into sculpted sceneries. Sometimes these painted bronze bodies and their suited surroundings create an optical illusion.

In Seward Johnson’s work the illusion works opposite Sotto in su technique. In his work a recognizable three-dimensional object looks like a more familiar two-dimensional painting: that of Monet for instance. In Sotto in su a painting looks as if it really exists. It is a false impression that makes the viewer see a two-dimensional painting as a three-dimensional object. This art technique was common in 17th century Italian Baroque art.

Now add some snow to a familiar painted sculpture: the snow that does not exists in the original impressionist painting. OK what we can have now are: 1- A puzzled art historian 2- A new piece of art: something that is familiar because of many impressionist paintings we have seen, but also mysterious because of the weather conditions. A surreal piece!

Part of Nature by Seward Johnson, 2000,
Grounds for Sculpture, NJ, Photo on Dec. 2007

If It Were Time by Seward Johnson, 1999
Grounds for Sculpture, NJ, Photo on Dec. 2007


jeerjeerak said...

dumb question:) :
so these are real 3 dimensional sculptures, or 2 dimensional painting outdoor that resemble a 3-dim?

Tameshk said...

Jeerjeerak joonam

Actually you are right: my photos are 2 dimensional: but these are photos of the sculptures that are 3 dimensional. They are outdoor sculptures and on that day they were covered partly by snow.

Nazy said...

Beautiful! Thank you for the art lesson Tameshk Jan. Happy Yalda to you my friend. I miss you.

Tameshk said...

Nazy Joonam

Thanks! Happy Yalda to you too. Yalda is very important to me: it was a family celebration in my family.

I wish I was back home just for tonight.