Christine Baxter, figurative sculpture in clay, wax, plaster
My first sculpture tutor inspired me; Mike Gillespie was assistant to Epstein, he taught me clay modeling from life and influenced my approach to sculpture, emphasizing strong forms and volumes.
Over the last 30 years I have been told, “Clay modeling is old fashioned, not relevant, not cutting edge, not even art!”
But how can I care what the art world thinks when I get so much from it. It is like an unfolding novel with layers of depth.
Modeling in either clay, wax or plaster.
It is an activity that takes up all my concentration. With it I am involved in an internal dialogue, “What does this pose express? Should this element be emphasized? Will this angle tilted be more emotive? Does this have the right weight? Where is the point of balance? Does it have gravity? Where is the poise and grace? And so the questions continue. Every action, every application or removal of clay is a new question and new decision; it is totally absorbing and very challenging. The modeling is a language, a vehicle for my own emotions but also for a dialogue with the viewer.
Then there is the added dimension, the material, the act of making, should it be consciously finished or show the unconscious marks of the making and the thinking that goes into its creation. There is something very special, when the unconscious making marks are left visible. I want the viewer to experience some of the love of shape that I understood whilst making the piece.
Lastly, I am interested in the material into which the piece is cast, how this changes the appearance and reception of the sculpture. The colour of the patina can change its look enormously, and has to be carefully considered.