Monday, October 19, 2009

The Realities of Sam Jinks

(Above) Sam Jinks works on the incredible detail of a head.







(Above) Pietà by Sam Jinks.

(Above) Michelangelo (1475 - 1564): The Pietà


Click on any image for larger view.





Click on any image for larger view.




SAM JINKS IS AN AUSTRALIAN SCULPTOR WHO CREATES CREEPY, HYPER-REAL SCULPTURES from silicon and human hair. The “creepy part” comes from his tendency to hang his sculptures on walls, like cadavers on display.

Creating hyper-real art is not new. Trompe l’oeil painting dates back centuries. I first became aware of it in college through the work of Irish-American painter William Harnett (1848-1892). At least, it was Harnett’s work that I remembered and associated with the style.

More recently, there were the photo-realists of the late 1960s and early 1970s who painted so faithfully to a photograph it usually created the rather lame first response by viewers of
“wow, how did the artist do that?” Paintings of that style are quite easy to produce really, if you have a bit of skill and understanding of paint. Why? Because these artists actually projected the image on canvas, traced the various shapes and color breaks, and finished by faithfully filling in the blanks—like a paint-by-number set. Not to diminish this period of work too badly, it did take a keen understanding of blending, the treatment of edges, and an overall understanding of the painting as a whole. Additionally, successful works had a believability about them based on shifting focus, capturing the way the human eye shifts focus between foreground and those things in the back.

I think that Jinks’ work is remarkable in it’s ability to shock viewers. Many of his works are slightly smaller than life size,
or slightly larger. This play with scale is unsettling, where the human body borders on anything but normal. And therein lies part of the paradox: how can something so real be off the mark in scale? Are we witnessing something from a PT Barnum sideshow?

I also have to ask the question: is Jinks’
Pietà any more real than Michelangelo’s? Those who have stood before the marble statue might say that the limp fall of Jesus’ hand, or the arch of the Christ figure’s neck could not be more real. Does attention to the color of flesh or the insertion of human hair make something more believable? Maybe—on a superficial level.

Purposefully, Jinks plays this game to further the shock us. With the piece at the top of the post, we witness this “crucified” male figure actually hanging on posts, but again, the “adult” figure is is no bigger than a small boy.


See more of Jink’s work here.

4 comments:

Jan said...

Amazing, but I have to say - disturbing.

Anne said...

Puts me in mind of Ron Mueck too, whose large scale hyper-real sculptures are disturbing too. Here for example.

nashashibi said...

wow... amazing, i think they reflect a realistic situation , in the old people you can see the different phases of life, and in the baby boy , we can notice the negative look towards the future!

Sue a/k/a MOUSEMOM40 said...

Wow! These pictures remind me of a sculpture my son and I saw in the Miswaukee Art Museum list last summer. Maybe it was the same artist - I don't remember. It was so real it was creepy!

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