Aristide Maillol, Monument a Debussy, 1930
I just realized that I hadn't posted the Maillol sculpture that I had mentioned in relationship to the Audrey Flack sculpture. (See below)
So here it is. Of course, I know that you cannot view either from all points of view as one must when looking at sculpture. But let me try to explain what I mean by "form" that is present in the Maillol and form being absent in the Flack sculpture. (Scroll down to see the Flack Sculputre and tnen return to my text)
The subject of form is related to the strong demarcation between Illustration and Art when considering painting. (And even then it's not easy to explain if one hasn't looked at a lot of good painting). After all illustrations and paintings are both just pictures!! Only they're not both just pictures nor is form present in all pieces of sculpture.
The Flack sculpture is 3 dimentional just as an unformed amount of clay or plaster is. And of course, she's shaped and colored her material to be cast just as she wants it to appear. But I contend that her interest in what she sees and wants us to see is more like minor story telling rather than fine visual literature. It's a little like looking at a soap opera as opposed to seeing a classical drama well produced. I think the Maillol is a fine clasical drama well produced and very much his own of his own generation.
The idea of true form is a subtle one that I want to explain by visual examples as much as through reading any words that I could write. For example, if you look at Greek sculpture at it's highest aesthetic point in history compared 1st century Roman sculpture, you'll see that what has been lost is the clear focus on abstract relationships of abstract forms generated by the human body that are beautifully profound in the sculptor's eye and mind. But following generations of sculptors began to introduce naturalistic details that pulled a shroud over the abstract concept of subtle and elegant relationships of forms seen in the human body.
Form is not about one element that describes a body part but it's about how that body part is shaped and more importantly, how it relates to the next part. And this interaction is something that Flack's sculpture does not consider. Her elements are more about shaping a body part that takes it's singular place as a metaphor in her overall story. But in the best of classic sculpture the metaphor is about one form coming to know another and not about many separate illustrated objects telling us what the sculpture is supposed to mean. Indeed Flack's "Apoltina" adds up to what it means and I contend that it doesn't mean much compared to what the Maillol sculpture means. (I couldn't insert the Greek and Roman sculptures that illustrate my point so I had to post them above these paragraphs. Please scroll upward to view those.) Again, I see the Flack sculpture as pop culture in the guise of an invented personal classical goddess. Well at least it's personel. (Again, scroll down to the Flack sculpture to make your own personal comparison between Maillol and Flack).