Figurative Sculpture Project

Inspiration behind the project...

This project was inspired by the exhibition "Beyond Rodin: New Directions in Contemporary Figurative Sculpture" held at the Rye Art Center in New York, 2012. It is an exhibition which celebrates the human figure, and is intended to demonstrate a revitalization of the human form in art.

Statement from the Curator...

First off, creating figurative sculpture well has a long learning curve – the anatomy takes years to seep in, the materials and processes themselves are complex. But getting to that point only gives you a technical foundation, and much work ends up looking like a pale rendition of sculpture already done so powerfully in centuries past.

While it may well be possible to forge ahead without a strong foundation and still make good art, my effort for this show has been to find people who are hitting on all those cylinders—strong anatomical and sculptural foundations and a strong source of Idea, masterfully realized. The resulting work connects to a deep place inside us, transforms the space around us, speaks from a focused center to our current and enduring concerns. And it does all this while innovating, giving us something we haven’t seen before. For me, this is the definition of great contemporary art.

- Bob Clyatt

Part 1: Visual Diary

Step 1: Research (10)

  • Research two artists from the above mentioned exhibition. Complete the following questions about each one:

- Artists' Name

- Artwork Title:

- Medium:

- Date:

- Describe what you see.

- How are the elements of art visible on this sculpture?

- Talk about the scale of the artwork:

- What do you think is the meaning of this work? What symbolism do you think it has? Explain or motivate your answer.

- How does the medium influence its meaning?
  • Complete a set of figure drawings during class time
  • Collect 10 examples of figurative sculptures

Step 2: Planning (30)

Based on your research, homework reflections and the figure drawings your created, you need to plan a concept for your own figurative sculpture.
Here are some specific VD requirements:
  • brainstorming possible ideas - rough draft (1 page)
  • source image (1 page)
  • theme proposal/intention and explanation (1page)
  • 2 rough sketches (2 pages)
  • process images (1-2 pages) As you are working on your sculpture I am expecting you to document it. Take pictures of your sculpture as you work on it, and paste them into your diary
  • Due: May 9

Step 3: Reflection (10)

Write a full page reflection on the planning and making of your sculpture? What did you learn during the process? What did you enjoy? What would you change or improve on? What was exciting? What was positive about the art-making process? Overall, how do you think you did?

Due: May 21

Overall Presentation of Visual Diary (10)

This grade is based on your effort to present your work creatively and neatly. I am expecting elements of your character to come through in this book, as I have seen in most of your VD's already. You need to continue working on this.

Make sure that each component of the project has been completed in detail, and that you have done so to the best of your ability. I am expecting your best.

Part 2: Artwork


Create your own figurative sculpture based on the theme Perception. The aim of the sculpture is to illustrate an element of your daily life and how you perceive it. It can be something mundane, something that you do every other day, or it can represent something you are going through, or an emotion associated something that you experiencing.

Note: When you create an artwork, it is best to create something that you can directly relate to, something from your own experience or perception. This makes your artwork more authentic and 'real'.


Here are some notes to guide you in the creation of your artwork:
  • As this is a figurative sculpture project, you need to include the element of the human form or human experience (ie emotion)
  • The aim of figurative sculpture is to create an artwork that is anatomically correct. However, if your idea or theme requires you to sway from this element, it is okay. Please note that this is not an easy way out, rather you would need to justify your motivations more thoroughly.
  • You may not represent an anime figurine, or a character. Again the aim of figurative sculpture is to represent the human form and the human experience, not a fantasy.
  • You will be using clay for this project.
  • Maximum size 20 x 20 x 20 cm
  • Due date: MAY 22, 2013 (Sculpture 1)

MAY 21, 2013 (Sculpture 2)