Wednesday, 8 April 2015

#624 Creating the Briscoe Equine Gates . . . the horse, con't

Please start this series of posts with blog #616.

The focus of this blog is design and anatomical considerations during the creation of the Briscoe Museum's
Equine Gates which were commissioned two years ago, and recently installed in San Antonio.
Please refer to the previous blog post for additional info.  Below, are images of the installed gates.

As beautiful and as familiar a subject as a horse is, the aesthetic aspect and considerations associated with
the species are enormous.  Just like the human figure, most people have an idea of what a horse should look like.
As a lover of horses, one who grew up around horses, and one who owns horses, as an artist, I entered the realm
of instinct and feeling while contemplating the design of this once-in-a-lifetime commission. . .
I was given total artistic freedom by the museum and this project is among my all-time favorite sculptures.
The one request was that the gates provide complete privacy from the outside city street.

Below, is an image of the maquette that I proposed and that was used for the gates entitled, "Equus Found".
This work is an award winning sculpture created five years ago. It is owned by Briscoe Museum trustee,
Jessica Elliott, who along with Jack and Valerie Guenther were instrumental in actualizing the project.

I've always had a mental image of what I perceive as the "ideal horse".  Some people view Arabs, some Thoroughbreds, and so on as their perception of the "ideal horse" . . .  my ideal is the heavy warhorse or charger from antiquity.
 I'm influenced by Greek, Roman, and Renaissance equine monuments from the past
Some works depicted enormous, heavy muscled horses, built to carry the weight of men in armor.
The romantic works of Barye and Fremiet from the 19th century presented drama and stately beauty;
while America's Anna Hyatt Huntington and Adolph Alexander Weinman kept the classic spirit alive.

Next Sunday's blog will spotlight Weinman and my all-time favorite equestrian sculpture:  "Riders of the Dawn". . .
I think you'll enjoy the images of the sculpture!

Below, is an image of a resin reproduction in my studio of a fragment from the Parthenon and
 a detail from a Barye equestrian sculpture taken last December at the Louvre in Paris.

My goal, while designing the gates was to interpret and present the horse as an icon, a symbol of magnificent power, beauty and proportion.  I chose a time-honored gesture and pose with a raised leg and arched neck to convey a feeling of dignity, balance, and repose.  Over the years I have learned that when I can envision the finished sculpture installed before I begin . . . it's not only a success but the most difficult part is completed as far as studio work is concerned.
In other words, the modeling simply flowed and was a joy to create during the summer of 2013!

Below, are images of the clay model in progress.

The fragmented and truncated design presentation of the horse further explored ancient influences while putting forth a contemporary impression.  The bronze equine architectural panels were installed on powder-coated stainless steel gates fabricated in San Antonio. by attaching the panels several inches away from the gate surface with pins,
a dramatic shadow is cast both during the day and at night.

I'm very sensitive to how art fits into any architectural project, especially a restoration such as the Briscoe.
The restoration of the building which was built in the early 1900s and is located on San Antonio's famed Riverwalk,
 has won many architectural awards for the resurrection of the beautiful art deco masterpiece.
Working with the architect was a joy and I'm happy to announce that he approves of the gates!

Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information.

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish

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