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The Godfather of Steel Sculpture - David Smith

May 3, 2011 • 1 comment • 3745 views
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 All Images and quotes are from "David Smith by David Smith: Sculptures and Writings 1968"


David Smith is in my opinion is the godfather of steel sculpture. He took a material that was not considered "fine art material" and transformed it into his own personal language.



Until you begin to dig into his whole overture of work do you recognize how based it was on the human form. Smith was an avid drawer and painter which was the grounding for his steel.


Smith took stainless steel and manipulated its aesthetics into poetry on the eyes. He brought the sculptures outdoors to let the natural surrounding of nature be the colors reflected in its forms.


The above images are a glimpse at his work- Below is his words - his thoughts-


 "I do not accept the monolithic limit in the tradition of sculpture. Sculpture is as free as the mind, as complex as life.. sculpture is a poetic statement of form."


"Drawing is the most direct closest to the true self, the most natural celebration of man- and of I may guess, back to the action of very early man, it may have been the first celebration with his secret self- even before song."


"Art is a paradox that has no laws to bind it....I feel no tradition. I feel great spaces. I feel my own time. I am disconnected. I belong to no mores- no party - no religion - no school of thought - no institution. I feel raw freedom and my own identity. I feel a belligerence to museums, critics, art historian, aesthetes and the so called cultural forces in commercial order.'


"Beneath the whole art concept, every pass in the act, every stoke, should be your own identity."

I completely agree that David Smith is the Godfather of steel sculpture. Not only imparting a seriousness to steel welded sculpture but also opened up a whole new domain in which to explore form, shape, process and esthetic. I recently had the honor of exhibiting some of my work at the Cincinnati Art Museum in one of the modern art wings for a program featuring regional artists. I had the incredible privilege of having my work directly across from a David Smith!!
05.04.11 •
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