Laguna College of Art + Design’s (LCAD) gallery is showing 14 figures by the great Auguste Rodin, arguably the greatest sculptor to live since Michael Angelo. The exhibit is on loan from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, the owner of the largest collection of Rodin sculptures in the world. Rodin redefined sculpture in many ways including his faithfulness and representation to and of nature, his expressively-modeled surfaces (using the surface to portray the emotion of his subjects), and by showing partial figures and fragments as complete works of art.
The story of how this Rodin exhibit ended up at LCAD is one of chance, or rather fate. Nearly one year ago Ryan Fisher, a trustee of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, came to visit LCAD and was interested in taking a sculpting class. During his visit Mr. Fisher learned about the college and their commitment to the representational nature of sculpting, the idea that a sculpture tells a story, and that there is a narrative aspect to art. This of course is in line with Rodin’s impressionistic techniques and his mission to convey the human spirit through sculpture. LCAD’s new President, Jonathan Burke, was not aware of Mr. Fisher’s connection with to the Cantor Foundation when they first met that day, but when he mentioned his tie, a vision of having a Rodin exhibit in Laguna Beach was born. Mr. Fisher believed that if Rodin was a student today, LCAD would be is college of choice because of their commitment to impart the enduring language of representational art.
After many months of preparation, the 14-piece Rodin exhibit came to life at LCAD. It has been the highest attended show at the gallery in the history of the college. And no wonder! On my visit I was overcome with amazement of the beauty each figure held. The feeling of movement and emotion…the subtleties that brought them to life…just incredible! For instance one of Rodin’s most well-known ‘fragment’ pieces is “The Walking Man” which is a seemingly incomplete figure without a head. Yet, when you take the time to get to know him, he does not seem to be missing anything at all.
Another part of the exhibit is a 10-piece step by step representation of the Lost Wax casting process. Most people don’t realize that the work of a finished sculpture is about 25% actual creation and 75% is the process of casting and bronzing. Lost Wax is an ancient casting process that allows the artist to accurately reproduce the nuances of the original model. This process can be sent and done at a foundry, but many individuals do not have the financial resources to do so, and therefore do many of the steps on their own.
The Cantor Foundation has a group of pieces that show ten of the steps of the Lost Wax process. In order to show how Lost Wax is done, the Cantor Foundation reversed the engineering process from a Rodin sculpture. Seeing this process in-person gave me an even greater appreciation of the labor that goes into producing these bronze sculptures.
This special and intimate Rodin exhibit at the LCAD gallery is a show you don’t want to miss! It is on display now through September 23, 2011. Admission is FREE.
Hurry to Laguna College of Art + Design for your chance to see the extraordinary works of Rodin up-close.
Monday - Friday 11:00 am - 5:00pm
Saturday by appointment only - 10:00 am - 4:00pm
By Anne-Marie S.