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Article

Vanina Costa

(b Nantes, Sept 17, 1907; d Paris, May 8, 1977).

French painter, sculptor, draughtsman and poet. He moved in 1926 to Paris, where he became involved with Surrealism, soon afterwards publishing his first collection of poems, Opoponax (Paris, 1927). In 1934 he exhibited a series of automatic drawings, which were followed by images produced with the assistance of objets trouvés: in Street Object (1936; Paris, Pompidou), for instance, he placed a sheet of paper on the road and then drove a car over it so as to leave the imprint of the tyre tracks. Another work of this period consisted of a bus sign bearing the same letters as his initials, so that it could be read as his signature. He also produced assemblages in a Surrealist spirit, such as Morphology of Desire (wood, plaster, metal, candle and torch, 1934–7; Paris, Pompidou). After World War II Bryen turned increasingly towards painting, through which he became a leading exponent of ...

Article

Stephen Bann

(b Nassau, Bahamas, Oct 28, 1925; d Dunsyre, Scotland, March 27, 2006).

Scottish sculptor, graphic artist and poet. Brought up in Scotland, he briefly attended Glasgow School of Art and first made his reputation as a writer, publishing short stories and plays in the 1950s. In 1961 he founded the Wild Hawthorn Press with Jessie McGuffie and within a few years had established himself internationally as Britain’s foremost concrete poet (see Concrete poetry). His publications also played an important role in the initial dissemination of his work as a visual artist. As a sculptor, he has worked collaboratively in a wide range of materials, having his designs executed as stone-carvings, as constructed objects and even in the form of neon lighting.

In 1966 Finlay and his wife, Sue, moved to the hillside farm of Stonypath, south-west of Edinburgh, and began to transform the surrounding acres into a unique garden, which he named Little Sparta. He revived the traditional notion of the poet’s garden, arranging ponds, trees and vegetation to provide a responsive environment for sundials, inscriptions, columns and garden temples. As the proponent of a rigorous classicism and as the defender of Little Sparta against the intrusions of local bureaucracy, he insisted on the role of the artist as a moralist who comments sharply on cultural affairs. The esteem won by Finlay’s artistic stance and style is attested by many important large-scale projects undertaken throughout the world. The ‘Sacred Grove’, created between ...

Article

Norihisa Mizuta

[Bussai; Dokusō; Gakusen; Hanbutsu koji; Kyūsui Gyojin; Mandarakyo]

(b Kyoto, 1738; d Osaka, 1797).

Japanese seal-carver, poet and editor. Afflicted by poverty in Kyoto, he moved to Osaka, where he studied Confucianism and Chinese literature with Katayama Hokkai (1723–90) and Hosoai Hansai (1727–1803) and joined the society of Chinese poetry, the Kontonshisha. He learnt seal-carving from Kō Fuyō and was so successful in absorbing the characteristics of the Archaic school that he was known as ‘Fuyō’s shadow’. Together with Maegawa Kyoshū and Katsu Shikin, he was an important advocate of the Archaic school in the Naniwa (now Osaka) area (see Japan §XVII 20.).

Albums of seals he carved include the Rekiken sanbō inpu, Dokusōan in’in and the Gakusen in’in. Shii also researched the background to seal scholarship and wrote the works Insekikō (‘Thoughts on borrowed seals’) and Ingosan (‘Outline of seal terms’). The Insekikō, published posthumously in 1802, is a catalogue raisonné of Japanese and Chinese seal albums introduced to Japan at that time. It also assesses the state and level of seal scholarship. No such catalogue had hitherto been compiled, even in China, and it was highly praised. The ...