working artists


Bathsheba Grossman
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artist's statement | technical statement | process

technical statement

My designs exist first as CAD models, and they enter the physical world as wax or plastic parts built by rapid-prototyping technology. Then they're translated into metal by the ancient and effective lost-wax method, and I finish the bronzes using hand tools that Praxiteles would recognize. So the process moves, as it were, backwards in time: from virtual idea to hand-finished metal.

The sculptures are made in limited editions, but it's done without mold-making: each instance of a piece is cast directly from a new prototyped model. It's impossible to make molds of my work - it is too involuted for even flexible tooling to work - so without prototyping there could be no editions at all.

Prototyping technology is a young, crude business as I write this, but it's the germ of an artistic sea change: it brings sculpture into the company of poetry and music, among the eternal media. Because the originals of my work are now data, they transcend location, medium, and time. Ultimately - in my lifetime I hope - art sculpture will be manufactured on demand, at the size, medium and price point requested by the viewer. Far from threatening the value of sculptures by eroding their scarcity, I believe that this will allow them to reach their natural audience, so that they can be owned by everyone who likes them. We are standing at the Gutenberg moment for sculpture: it will soon be affordable, ubiquitous, and - like everything else that shares those properties - digital.