Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tell Me Again, Ang, Exactly Why Do You Keep Making Sculptures of Naked Women?

This is the picture on my new business cards. The text to the right of the picture looks pretty much like this:
Angela Greer Garren
Pouring Emotion into Glass
Mother, Sculptor, Writer
P.O. Box 28, Irvington, IL 62848
Those words on my card, "Celebrating the Beauty of the Human Condition," get as close to a short answer as I think I'm ever going to get. Don't think I don't think about this answer each and every time I make a sculpture that isn't a mask or Buddha of some sort, either. . .because I do.
From the very first foray into sculpting the human body, I heard "Put some clothes on them nekid wimmin," snickers, and giggles accompanied by embarrassed eye rolling. Oh, and let's not forget the sideways queries about why it's women and not men in the nude that I sculpt. Alright, you asked for it, gentlemen (and make no mistake, it is usually the men who find this so intriguing):
  • I am a woman, and I love a man.
  • Everything is not about sex.
  • Men are gorgeous to look at, especially a nice strong pair of biceps, but I can't seem to sculpt a male figure and get anything special out of the glass.
  • Women's bodies have more curves, more gracefulness, and I can seem to sculpt a female figure and get something special out of the glass.
  • No, I am not interested in a threesome with another woman and you. . .you can fantasize about that one if you really want, but it doesn't turn my crank. Anyway, I'm a woman. My fantasies are more about well thought out, meaningful surprises and soft looks. Remember that Mars and Venus thing? We're different.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk seriously about nakedness and beauty and bodies and art. Once you've spent enough time on earth, you come to realize a few things. Life is about the journey. Love others for who they are, not who they might become. Nature is awe inspiring with her intricacy and universal language. The human body is beautiful in all its different shapes and variations, especially the ones that have been lived in, the ones that exude experience and wisdom and grace.

Yes, the bodies that carry the souls with so much humility and grace, those are beautiful bodies to behold. Battle scars don't have to be from bullet wounds, and hearts can be seen even when covered by layers of flesh and bone. A breast cancer survivor once asked me to make a sculpture for her. Sculpting that figure with the reconstructed breast that was smaller than the other because the woman had gained weight since her reconstruction years ago-- that was an honor. She survived, she flourished, and she lives. That's a beauty that reaches beyond the body itself.

I used to sculpt goddesses, used to be inspired by myths and religious stories, used to need to read about a goddess and try to understand her before I tried to capture her in glass. Athena, Kali, Gaia, they inspired me to reach toward their greatness and grasp it in the flame. Those were good sculptures for me, but they were another time.

Now, I sculpt the human form. Mantras and myths might come with me to the torch, but what inspires me is the form, the curve, the graceful imperfections of the human body.

Goddess inspiration comes from the strength and wisdom we percieve in the myths and legends and religions. It strengthens a bit of the soul, somehow. Ah, but the human body does even more. It is us, in all our shapes and forms, that inspires me. We live. We breathe. We laugh. We love. We cry. We hope. We are.

It is this human condition that is most beautiful to me.


Ramblings of a lunatic mom and lampworker said...

Well now...your post got me thinking about that song. 'I kissed a girl and I liked it' or something like that. It plays a lot here at the moment on the radio. NO I have not kissed a girl, so NO I don't know if I would like it. LOL But I can think about it, can't I. Now I'm in trouble. LOL And just so we're all clear I'm very very happily married!!!

I don't think there is anything wrong with sculpting the female form and you are right about every reason as to why. Another point is no one is more in tune with her figure than a woman is. I'm of the, how do they say it...voluptuous kind. LOL Funny thing is, it is very hard for me to create a voluptuous Goddess and I've tried. LOL Must be that skinny woman in me trying to break free I guess.

If I may be as bold to make one teensy weensy suggestion. How about the 'Human Form' instead of the 'Human Condition'.

Okay I'm going back to hide in my little ol' hole.

Have a fun day!!

p.s. I might need to delete my comment...........LOL

angelinabeadalina said...

Heehee, Mich, don't you run back to any hole! You know what's funny? After I started sculpting goddesses, I finally realized just how beautiful each of us is...full figure, skinny figure, in-between figure, doesn't matter :) It's all good.

Here's what's up with the "human condition" instead of "human form". I started out with "form" and then changed my mind at the last minute during the final edit, thinking some things I make are about life and not just the figure. Anyways, I can always change it back to "form" next time I order cards.

Anonymous said...

Angelina, this is the most beautiful I read today.

"Once you've spent enough time on earth, you come to realize a few things. Life is about the journey. Love others for who they are, not who they might become. Nature is awe inspiring with her intricacy and universal language. The human body is beautiful in all its different shapes and variations, especially the ones that have been lived in, the ones that exude experience and wisdom and grace."

Is this your own words?

Here's my vote for you to keep makeing your naked sculptures. :)

@Lunatic Mom

LOL... hehe... don't worry, your hubby will probably like it. :)

angelinabeadalina said...

Thank you, Francois:) Yep, those are my words, learned over time, from experience and from wisdom shared with me by lots of different people.

Deb said...

Fabulous thoughts Ang - & do you know, whilst reading my thoughts went straight to Sophie & her glaring percieved 'imperfection', even though her body isn't lived in yet.
There was an interview on TV with her last night & I just cried at the beautiful person that shone through from the inside.

That is what you capture - perfectly!! All of your 'Human Condition' sculptures are astounding, they provoke thought & evoke emotion. That truly is art!

Now, how do I put this (delicately) without everyone thinking I swing both ways? lol!

I am one of these females that will watch a movie & find the female body equally as attractive as the male. Believe me the men in this house just can't win. They'll admire a female form & I'll agree (or disagree if it's 'plastic') - more often than not I will even comment first, & it's as much the 'persona' as anything. They have got very used to my comments of 'she's hot' or 'hmmmm there is something about her' ....yet I'll admire a male form & they just go quiet or 'eeewwwwww' -lol!
What is it with that & men, that they can't see the beauty in all forms of humanity irregardless of gender?

Now "I kissed a girl, I liked it" - ROFL, every time that song comes on, I find myself singing along.... & I ain't telling ;o)

Warning - if Mich deletes her comment than I shall delete mine.

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

Ok Ang... what have you been drinking girl? I agree with you melting, molten glass... lends itself to the female form... Marble, stone, a chisel to release Michaelangelo's David from the stone... I do love a hard male body, with a hint of sweat making his body glisson... what's that swimmer's name,.... Phelps... yum yum

Profusion said...

Oh Angela, I wish I were a writer too, you put it so well.
I sometimes wonder what people think about my ladies, but I have had very few comments, except for a few smiles. My BF asked why they were always fat, and I told him the glass wants to be round.
I haven't tried yet, but I think male figures are would be difficult too. And then there is the question of the boy bits, which I would not like to have to look at forever. A torso down to the waist would be good though ...
Have you really been invited to a threesome based on your ladies?

angelinabeadalina said...

LOL, P~, no actual invitation...that's just my pre-emptive strike against the sly innuendo and teasing about my reasons for sculpting what I sculpt. Boys, even middle-aged ones, will be boys sometimes. I try to make sure that when the teasing starts, they realize that I'm not going to just turn red and walk away :)

See, Elaine, I was thinking about David when I wrote this yesterday. There's a reason that sculpture is still a part of common knowledge-- it is perfection. Oh, and did you happen to see those photographs of Olympic athletes performing their sports without uniforms-- the one of the swimmer arching in/out of the water was sublime. The curve of the swimmer's body was echoed by the water spray. It was just very good composition.

*snort* Dear Deb, I hope you and Mich have noticed that I change the caption underneath AngelinaBeadalina at the top of this blog-- and that you read it yesterday/today :)

Cindy Gimbrone said...

A well written artist manifesto! You express your artistic vision and motivation eloquently - sculpting the human condition. A woman's condition is the human condition. Believe me, alot of males aren't happy with their bodies either for the same reason alot of women aren't.

I haven't for once wondered why you sculpt naked women - in fact, never thought much about the "nakedness" of them either. It would be too superficial a view of your art. It's an expression of you and how can that be reduced to superficialness?

Bravo for Angie's Art Manifesto! Bring on the Human Condition!!!


Deb said...

Ang - I do read the 'subtitles' -lol! Tou don't know how much I wish I'd saved one from a while back, your
captions could be a whole blog in themselves at times! ;o)

Now I have to agree - David is perfection and I'm going to behave & not even comment on the temperature ;o)
I can't say a whole lot about Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man though, ever since I decided that he reminded me of Billy Connolly I just can't see him in the same light that I used to!

Studio Marcy - Marcy Lamberson said...

You guys crack me up. I love the human form. I could watch cirque du soleil over and over again, because those bodies are so beautiful.

Ang, you write beautifully and this was one of my favorite posts.