Sculpture / Bronze




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Men and Nature Figurative Sculpture by Kelly Borsheim

[unwritten future male nude bronze sculpture]

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"The Unwritten Future"

edition of 99
19" h x 7" w x 6" d
© 2011
Kelly Borsheim


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"The Unwritten Future" Contemporary Bronze Male Figurative Sculpture:

I have been talking with a few friends recently about the topic of courage. People often tell me that I am so brave to do … fill in any activity you like. For example, many times they will say that I was brave to just pick up and go to Italy. My friends have had similar experiences. But is it brave to do something that you feel needs to be done, especially when you recognize that what you are currently doing is not working? I had stopped growing. I went to Italy to become a better artist. It took me longer to get there than I had hoped, but somehow I knew it was necessary to be surrounded by the art there and to see for myself how it was possible to live with many different forms of art everywhere. [It is amazing, by the way!]

This new bronze is titled “The Unwritten Future” and is a play on my bronze “Cattails and Frog Legs.” Instead of the original amphibians, one man hangs by one hand from the end of the cattail, while another man sits on the lily pad below, watching in anticipation. Sure life can throw in her little surprises, but in essence, we all have an “unwritten” future until we have made a choice and taken the corresponding action.

I like the particular view of the bronze that I have chosen to share with you (top of page). The shadow cast by the sun implies that the hanging man will not drop, but will choose to grab hold. It is optimism in a precarious situation.

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[hang man figure bronze sculpture]

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Bronze Casting Male Figurative Sculpture "The Unwritten Future"

When I received an opportunity to cast bronze in Austin, Texas, at the Atelier 3-d with artist and teacher Steve Dubov, I signed right up. Always interested in process, Steve uses a different kind of investment mold and alters his technique for the lost wax bronze casting method.

So, I created a couple of new sculptures in wax. In my art post on April 15, I shared something of my creating the sprue, the wax sculpture connected to a wax funnel that will all ultimately become bronze.

The original sculptures of the two male figures were created directly in wax, using primarily dental type of tools and occasionally heat. Temperature is everything; even a degree makes a difference. Working with wax the way in which I do generally allows me to create a more textured piece of art. It is interesting to work with something so dark. It helps me to see the overall shape as an abstraction.

[wax sprue sculpting male nude figure for bronze casting]

[wax sprue sculpting male nude figure for bronze casting]

The image, left, shows me holding the sprue. Below, I am holding my sprue to keep it from floating, pour funnel at the top opening with the sculptures deeper, parallel to the side walls. Steve is pouring a mixture of plaster, playground sand, and water into the mother mold. Once this mold has set, holes will be lightly punched into just the metal tubing to release steam later during the pouring of the molten bronze.

[wax sprue sculpting male nude figure for bronze casting]

After the mold is ready, it will be heated and all of the wax will be melted out (hence the term "The Lost Wax Process" in bronze casting). Now the sculpture is only an air space. Bronze will be heated to about 2000 degrees F so that it becomes a liquid. Then it will be poured into the funnel-shaped opening, travel down the air space, follow the sprue space to fill the sculpture space, and then chase air out the vents. The bronze begins cooling as soon as it is poured, so everything in the pour moves fairly quickly.

I did not attend the bronze pour since I was working in my studio on my stone carving. This fourth image shows you the bronze pieces after Steve cut away the mold and then cut apart each sculpture from the cooled bronze sprue parts. He left some of the sprue on so that I could put the art into a vice as I chase the metal.

[wax sprue sculpting male nude figure for bronze casting]

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