Artist Profile: Erika Verzutti’s Work with Bronze, Clay, and Paint (subtítulos en español)

Artist Profile: Erika Verzutti’s Work with Bronze, Clay, and Paint (subtítulos en español)


♪ When I started making sculpture in 2003, I was using raw clay, because it was solid, it was instant, I could do it today and it was dry tomorrow. So I would always try to make a swan, or a dinosaur, or anything that was the essential vertical move from the clay up. I have a favorite angle for every sculpture, and normally they are photogenic. You can see that some have a frontal view. There are so many possibilities in 360 degrees, if you walk around the sculpture, that I can’t cope with that, really, with all the views of my work. I don’t have them in my mind. I have some, maybe three. Sculpture just feels real. The real color of bronze is gold, and I didn’t know that until I started working with bronze– I always thought that bronze was darker. I also thought that bronze was solid, and now I know that it’s always hollow. So, bronze carries all this tradition, and it’s something that is also used in public sculpture. And I like that very much. I try to keep myself close to common sense, most of the time, with art materials. Bronze is very precious, and painting it is my way of dealing with bronze in the contemporary art context. It’s a negotiation between the power of bronze, and treating bronze not as such a precious thing when I paint it. I think I break a little bit with that limit. For “Painted Lady,” I used real fruit. When I started using fruit, I thought that I was going to do that forever, because it was so rich, and easy somehow. And I said, “Oh, this is a material–these are the shapes that I have been looking for, and I’ve found them.” So in “Venus with Fire,” there are new fruits that don’t really exist. They are totally like “post-fruit” sculpture. It’s a struggle, and it’s a lot of material, and it’s not easy to play nature’s role–to create a texture. So I try not to compete with nature. My textures are very literal, and you can see the fingerprints. I am trying to keep it simple, and show my intention more than anything there. They have much with which to inform each other, those two pieces, being shown together. The third piece in the collection is called “Girl With a Pearl Earring.” It’s easy to guess that it’s titled after the Vermeer painting. And it really happened to have that title, after it was ready. I was working with fruit for almost seven years. Suddenly, it’s not only fruit anymore. It’s like these wall things that resemble make-up sets, or Flintstones make-up sets sometimes. Sometimes they look like books, sometimes they look like abstract paintings. There are so many associations to be made there. I started with egg cartons–that was the found form. And I started playing with these holes and grooves, and attaching some stones to it, and small eggs, and working with this relief, and some depressions, until I had the idea, and the very strong wish, to hang it. I felt that I was doing something inappropriate, almost. I was very happy when I hung it and it worked. So I said, “Okay, that’s a sculpture of a painting.” It’s totally abstract. There’s no image there. But the colors really can give you some feeling of that period of painting, because there are many yellows, and there is one small white ball–one small stone that I attached to it in the composition that got so central.That is the pearl earring. And I said, “Oh, look at that.” So I had a lot of fun with that title and those colors, and with the possibility of hanging something on the wall. And that was the start of a great deal of works that I’m doing now, that are all on the wall.

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