Monday, January 25, 2016

ZORA PALOVA : Intuition + Gesture in Metal + Glass


As leaves were falling we had the privilege of hosting Zora Palova as International Randall Chair in Sculpture Dimensional Studies.

During her time she worked across media within the Sculpture area producing a beautiful new body of work in neon, glass, paper and cast iron.

Palová, who lives and works in Bratislava, Slovakia, first studied painting and sculpture and then switched to glass, studying with well-known Czech glass sculptor Václav Cigler. She worked independently for 20 years while raising a family before teaching glass sculpture at the University of Sunderland in England. She currently devotes all of her time to creating her own sculptural work.
'Empty Seed'      Cast Iron + Yellow Felt
Her approach to cast glass sculpture is perhaps characteristic of her generation, which draws from—and breaks with—the ideas developed by the famous Czechoslovak artists of the postwar era, such as Cigler, Stanislav Libenský, and Jarolslava Brychtová. Her use of the material is gestural, emotional, and grounded in the natural world. She works with light, using rough textures and transparent color in glass.

Cast Glass, Wax + Iron
At the National Casting Center Foundry we are proud to have assisted her in producing her first two cast iron sculptures. Sculpture Professor Coral Penelope Lambert and Foundry Tech Paige Henry worked closely with Zora to articulate her vision in this new material whilst Sculpture Students helped with the pour.

Paige Henry and Jeremy Hanson on the Ladle: pouring iron at 2650 degree Fahrenheit form the induction furnace

Zora Palova and Coral Penelope Lambert with the successfully poured iron 'Leaf' sculpture.
The most direct way to translate the glass work into iron was to initially explore using her plaster silica molds for a series of waxes which could be directly melted out using the lost wax process. This resulted in a new addition to her ‘Leaf Series’ work that investigates the transition of glass, wax to iron.

Paige Henry at work on the molds for Zora
Another option we explored was to take a multi-piece rubber mold from an existing glass sculpture in order to make a replica, a twin of the original as in the case of yellow leaf.


Zora expressed how these new processes compliment her studio practice and reinforce her interest in the concepts of fragility versus strength, soft against hard, interior touching exterior and feminine alongside masculine.

'LEAF'     Cast Iron with Stove Black finish

Zora Palova selecting patinas for the finished work: she decided to go with the classic stove black with one and then yellow felt to create a soft interior on another.

Thank You Zora for visiting the Foundry: We hope to see you again! 
Photos by Zora Palova, Coral Penelope Lambert + Paige Henry

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Adapting the collaborative, chance-based drawing game known as the ‘Exquisite Corpse’ developed by the Surrealists in the 1920’s the Intro to Sculpture Students explored the process of casting iron. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule or by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed. 
The students were given the task of coming up with a way to make a large work together. In the first session minimal tools and materials were provided such as plasticene, chalk, paper and space.

Using what was at hand and even what was in their pockets such as the pennies for the head: juxtapositions resulted in opposing textures and a composite figure with the body dismembered.

Working together with sand molding for the first time, two part molds of the plasticene and found object body parts were made. Students collaborated mixing resin bonded sand together, packing the molds and helping each other clean and prepare them for casting.
Iron was chosen as the appropriate metal to cast the 'Exquisite Corpse' because of its relationship to iron in our blood. Scrap Iron was broken up with sledge hammers and melted in our coke fired cupolette 'MothRa'. On a cold February day still temperatures rose to 2700f!
After the pour the body parts were sandblasted and reassembled. The next question put to the students was about how to display the body: how could it function? would people interact with it at all? who was the audience? Students were directed to develop a public art proposal including, drawings, budget, installation and maintenance requirements.
Conrad Cheung
Hannah Johnson
Emma Bartik
Daniel Cohen
Isaiah Palmeri
Jon Moreno
Julia Guerriero
Lindsay Neubeck
Michelle Lotz
Ristina Wigg
Owen Moon
Brenna Hahne's proposal above was chosen to be implemented for the Hornell Art Walk where the whole group was putting on an exhibition of their other work for the class. Wooden backing was attached so all the components could have wheels to make it easier to move around allowing visitors to create many different configurations. Some pieces weighed over 50# but with the wheels it made it easy. the wood was painted colorfully by each student continuing the collaborative nature of the project.

The Exquisite Corpse now hangs at the entrance to the National Casting Center Foundry, you are welcome to drop by any time to check it out!
We are just missing one piece so if you see a section like this on your travels you can bring it to us and we will add it back to fully complete it!

All work made during Intro to Sculpture : Spring 2015 with Professor Coral Penelope Lambert