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  • Chance Liscomb

Artists I Admire

I believe it's essential to study the work of other artists and allow their work to influence the artist if their work resonates with them.

One artist I admire is David Smith ( 1906 -1965). He has been very influential in my work. I admire his sense of immediacy toward expression. I get a real sense that I work as he did — not always knowing how the sculpture will end, but starting from a place and allowing the adventure to unfold in space. I identify with working toward the unknown and allowing the acceptance of chance effects to continue. Smith's abstract sculptures arrest the eye with elegance and economy.

I, too, strive to use minimal pieces in my work. I believe the viewer's mind is vital in making meaning and that it doesn't require all the parts of the puzzle to be in place. I find that less is more and encourage the audience to engage in the work and participate by using their brain and insight to make sense of the pieces. When I see Smith's work, I enjoy its simplicity of forms and shapes. His work is powerful and thought-provoking to me. He spent over thirty years pursuing sculpture and painting and said that painting and sculpture go hand in hand. I agree that the importance of negative and positive shapes and voids in the space of sculpture and painting are paramount to its visual success. Learn more about David Smith here:

Another artist I admire is Alexander Calder (1898 -1976), the father of the mobile. He, too, was a painter and a sculptor. You can't do one without the other. I like the use of color Calder utilized in his work. His mobiles and stabiles are extraordinary and timeless to me. He made some 80,000 works of art in his lifetime. I admire his commitment and drive to make work each day, whether large or small; he stayed with it and is one of our most prolific and greatest American sculptors

Another reason I admire Calder is his diverse body of work. He tried everything from jewelry to tool-making, from five-story sculptures to mobiles and miniature circus figures. He had a good sense of humor, which showed in his work. Calder accomplished whatever he set out to do. I hold this same spirit to give my heart's desire a go at whatever I choose to do. To my surprise, I have found success. I am willing to attempt the unknown and use my skills and ability to think through the process beforehand; this allows me time to work out most problems before they arise. I also know the limitations and advantages of materials and their properties. This is very helpful in art. Learn more about Alexander Calder here:

Anslum Kiefer (born 1945 ) is a German painter and sculptor I admire. His paintings are intriguing because they incorporate straw, ash, clay, lead, and shellac materials. He is most known for his subject matter dealing with German history and myth, particularly related to the holocaust. Kiefer is considered part of the Neo-expressionist movement, which diverged from Minimalism and abstraction to develop new representational and symbolic languages.

I enjoy his diverse use of very drab materials and minimal use of color that comes aglow ever so gently from the surfaces of his paintings. It reminds me of how keen our eyes are to color and how little, nearly undetectable color can usher in hope psychologically. As a society, we often overdo color, overeat, drink too much, talk too much, etc. His painting reminds me of how little we need to live to find hope to be recharged. Our society is "me me me, more more more." I don't subscribe to this and would like to change the paradigm to "less is more" — and we all deserve less. We can live for months on air, water, and sunlight. And this is a fact! Our flesh is weak, but our spirit is both strong and willing.

I'm reminded of the hardships the holocaust survivors made it through. His work is heavy and reminds the viewer that countless atrocities occurred perhaps through drabness and absence of color. Yet there is a subtle glimmer of hope in each piece if you search for it. I like this; I want art that challenges my thinking and makes me go deeper into myself — and the painting or sculpture — to find my understanding and learn something about myself. Learn more about Anslum Kiefer here:

There are some outstanding women sculptors, both present and in the past, who I'd like to discuss. I have been influenced by many women sculptors who were overlooked. One whose work I admire is Lee Bontecou (born 1931), an American sculptor and printmaker and a pioneer figure in the New York art world. Her work is unconventional and mysterious to me in such a profound way that it's difficult to understand, much less put into words.

Bontecou's radial rod sculptural forms are covered with canvas and stitched together crudely with wire.

Her pallet is of drab and dark browns and greens with little use of color. I'm intrigued by her sculptural paintings and perplexed by the execution of her work. Her work is consistent in a recognizable style and received broad recognition in the 1960s. Bontecou's work is rich; organic shapes and powerful energy appear in her drawings, prints, and sculpture. Learn more about Lee Bantecou here:

These are just a few well-known artists who have influenced my work. Of course, there are many more. I hope my body of work will influence others in the future. But until then I need to get back into the studio and make some art.


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