Self-expression is a fundamental part of our human experience. Positive Psychology mentions that self-expression is one of the most critical journeys in our society. Sculpture as a form of art and self-expression has been around since time immemorial. Art using materials that outlast humans allows us to appreciate the past in a brand-new way. Yet sculpture is at least today, a seemingly dying pursuit. Artists are finding easier ways to express themselves, relegating sculpture to the history books. In the twenty-first century, can we consider sculpture to be still relevant to artistic expression?
The world around us is going through severe upheaval. Society is changing, and art has to adapt to it. In times of great crisis such as these, art provides a way to deal with it. But today’s art is more along the lines of aesthetic beauty and not sculpture. Today’s artistic minded individuals prefer seeing designs in Legacy Countertops as opposed to three-dimensional sculpted structures. The problems with sculpture as artistic expression comes from seeing how it attains its goals.
The classical discipline of sculpture was simplistic in what it tried to do. The classical masters took what existed and wanted to capture it in the material they had at hand. The level of detail of some of the older classical sculptures would leave a connoisseur breathless with delight. Today’s sculptors still produce some of these kinds of works, but their interpretations are vastly different. Many artists of today opt for a more post-modern or abstract look for their art. From a critic’s perspective, it seems as though many of these pieces lack purpose or direction. They want to tell a story, but the story is left mostly buried when the piece is finished.
Sculpture, at its heart, is a human expression of hope. It’s a method of connecting with generations past and building a shared future from what we’ve learned and done before. The materials one uses to sculpt are the very earth itself, like the most ancient of artists before us. From these greys and reds, and browns, we turn the earth that bears us into a form of self-expression that is both deeply introspective and stunning in its presence. Sculpture of today needs to recover this bond with the past to find itself or risk losing its direction in human society.
Despite what the art world sees in the steady decline of the discipline, there is seldom any argument about retaining the pursuit’s core concepts. While art critics chide new approaches to art, there’s very rarely any in-depth discussion about what makes for deep sculpture. The future of sculpture relies on determining what sculptors want to say and how they intend to say it. Most modern sculptors don’t practice the same level of skill and discipline that the masters of old used to. Whether it will doom sculpting as an irrelevant artistic pursuit isn’t something anyone can say just yet.