An "Egg of Words"

(something like "a ball of twine")

A Sculpture by Hank Kaminsky

Egg ImageEgg1b.jpg 35K

"An Egg of Words"

Sand-matrix designed Aluminum sculpture

Ap prox. 9" April 1995

In this article

The question of what communicates in Art
The relationship between Process and Idea
How this sculpture was made

Aside from having a little fun, I am concerned in this piece with two questions; the first deals with what it is that actually does the communicating in a work of art, and the other is about the relationship of technique to idea and the limitations this relationship places on the artist.

The most interesting question here is "In a piece of art what is the vehicle that communicates the symbolism." Is it the forms, surfaces, colors, etc, (the aesthetic elements) or the narrative elements (the picture or in this case the words). The form here is an egg. But there is no egg, only words in the approximate and incomplete shape of an egg. Without the word forms there would be nothing, no substance. But also without the implied form there would be no basis for the words . The two are inextricably tied together not only aethetically but also in the process of making the work as explained below.

Having words in my sculpture has become very important to me lately. I have been working in abstract forms for some time now and have often used pictorial elements. I like the abstract qualities of letters themselves and the fact that they also carry unde rstandable meaning in the right combinations. The words are an added layer of meaning for me.

I theorize that it is the aesthetic elements (form, color, shape, etc.) of any work of art which actually do the communicating, providing support for the narrative elements. The narrative elements however are the first seen by the audience; they provide the "hook," so to speak, to attract the audience. This is a relatively simple piece, narrative and aesthetic elements are both about eggs. The words all say something about eggs, the form of the piece also speaks "eggs." It will be interesting in the future to see how to combine pictorial elements into this mix.

The other question this sculpture talks about are some ideas I've been playing with for a few years now on the relationship of process and aesthetic. This sculpture is a vehicle for me to jump one further step with the sand-matrix design process. The process and the aesthetics of any work of art are tied together very closely, sometimes in ways not consciously understood by the artist. For example the wax worker is always held in check by the physical limitations of the wax as to weight, strength, elasticity, etc. A wax worker who casts in bronze has also to learn the relationship of the form in wax and the characteristics of that form in the casting process. The understanding of, and an accomodation to these limitations are built into the thought and making process by training. Ideas that will not fit within these limitations will be excluded from the making process without further examination.

Since there are really very few maps for me to follow with this technique I am more likely to be aware of the connection between process and idea.

Here's how this sculpture was made:

A 2 piece Petrobond sand mold was made of the egg pattern. The word sub-patterns were then pushed into the sand cavity from which the egg pattern had been removed. (The sand was not rammed rock hard) The design of the word placement in the mold cavity was changed from mold to mold to produce variations. I have made 4 variations so far and a 5th is on the way with some new words.

Once the word design was finished, gates and a pouring channel system were cut in the sand to feed the letter forms with metal. (This piece was fed from the parting plane). The rubber mold of the first egg casting was then rammed with sand to produce a sand egg. This core was then dropped into the cavity and the mold closed for casting.

I am playing with a design for a 3 piece flask which will allow for the letter designs or any designs which may come in the future to cross the parting plane without having to measure from a fixed point and guess at the correct angle, etc.

I realize this article is only a short introduction to some of the ideas I've been playing with and the description of the making process contains a lot of jargon and will be incomplete for many of you, but I will be working on a more in-depth article for future publication and would be would glad to talk further about any aspect of the questions raised. Just e-mail or write me.

Copyright 1994, 1995 ArtMetal

Contributing Editor: Hank Kaminsky

ArtMetal Curator: Enrique Vega

Last Updated:Sat, Jul 29, 1995