Gravettian #1, with Louise Bourgeois in mind…
April 20, 2015
It’s no longer politically correct to refer to the Neolithic figures as “Venuses”, referring to them as Gravetttian instead. This first, in air-dried clay, is the Venus Lespugue. I’m aiming for a set of four or five from the period, including the renowned Willendorf.
I’ve let it dry slowly (given its mass) in the conventional manner, that is uncovered during the day and enclosed in a plastic bag by night.
I’ve yet to go back and pick out features and smooth edges with tools, though I’ve no wish to create an exact replica, but merely to get the feel for the truncated or abbreviated body.
This is in readiness for the next big project in Sculpture this term at Art School: an abbreviated or “fragmented” body (exaggeration permitted) in fabric; specifically two maquettes 30x50cm and one larger one.
Given the rigours of transporting these clay figures back and forth on public transport to Art School, their size has been determined by their ability to fit into common take-away plastic food containers. Used to terracotta and stoneware clay, air-dried clay is completely new to me; I’ll be monitoring shrinkage and cracking carefully, plus the texture created by working surfaces with a high degree of water. I’ve used a mud-brown clay (as opposed to a porcelain grey body) and have no intention at this stage of painting them.