Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Wedlock," an application of Modern Classical Sculpture, 1120 Twentieth Street, Washington, D.C.

In Monroe Ford's article below the reader was provided a tour through Mr. Johnston's studio. The magnificent 19 foot white plaster mold was displayed of the bronze "Wedlock"at Lafayette Center pictured above.

The enhanced detail of the "Wedlock" to the left demonstrates my perception of the artist's love, not only for his medium of expression but also the institution of marriage and the roles expressed by the "Wedlock."

The sculptor's commissioned work enhances the visual aesthetics of the street level entrance of Lafayette Center, 1120 Twentieth Street, NW, Washington D.C., 20036. The practical application of the artists work is demonstrated in this large 19 foot sculpture. What was previously a street level entrance way, similar to others, is now a work of art which says STOP, there is something interesting housed within.

The "Wedlock" is thus described in Mr. Johnston's sculpture catalogue: "The 19.5 [foot] commission, conceived vertically, engenders alignment and unity. At the core, a merger of extended arms captures a broad embrace, transferring energy inward and outward. Although physically supporting the male, the female is effortless grace as the two float together in space."

Lafayette Center would be an excellent location for a wedding!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Visit to Barry Johnston's Sculpture Studio

Walking into Barry Johnston's studio presents a moment for enlightenment. An array of sculptures are strewn across three levels of open-air work areas rising to skylights in a forty foot high ceiling. The magnificent 19 foot white plaster mold of "Wedlock" the bronze sculpture in Washington. D.C. hovers like a benevolent spirit over his multifaceted work areas. I guess the white sculptures jump out at you first on the ground floor. There is an amazing 5 by 5 foot white marble carving of a Mother and Father with their four children called "Family", and a serene marble carving of a Mother with her new born infant asleep on her belly, "A Calm Place."

An elegant and uplifting 8 foot sculpture of three figures "Faith, Hope and Love" in a double flame shape stands next to an active workshop for testing Johnston's heat engine invention. Several bronze sculptures are displayed in the gallery area, ranging from the passionate embrace of "Romeo and Juliet" to the quiet composure of a youthful female expressing her boundaries in "Temperance". On the wall hangs a prescient 3 x 4 ft. bronze of the "Four Apocalyptic Horses", a vision of the horses flying overhead like a raging storm towards modern civilization.

Upstairs is another large area where the sculptor and students work with live models, either drawing or rendering their form in clay. This area feels like a large balcony with several life-sized plaster Shakespeare characters overlooking the main floor. More stairs wind in different directions, one to a drafting area and the other to the students' dormitory suspended like a large white glassed-in eagle's nest at the apex of the studio. An open walkway leads to another gallery area with more bronze sculptures evoking a myriad of ideas and moods and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the beauty of the human form, intelligence and spirit of creativity.

The exquisite quality of the sculptures made me wonder if I had traveled back in time to the Golden Age of Greece or the Italian Renaissance, but the sound of classical music wafting from the piano of the artist's attached home and the thoroughly modern composition and design of the sculptures made it clear that this is the studio of a truly modern renaissance man.

Leaving the building, I experienced the transcendent power of fine art. My vision was transformed and for the rest of the day my senses were heightened. I had a keen awareness of every human gesture, every shape and graceful line, every change in lighting or flex of muscle, and every expression of joy or sorrow evoked a poignant empathy for the human souls around me.