The Flaming Lotus Group and the Art of Fire Sculpture.

To some, the famous “Burning Man” Arts Festival is a regular hotspot for gatherings of young and talented artisans from all across the globe. Back in 2000, a female-dominated art group was born through collaborative work during this special festival. The Flaming Lotus Girls took their group’s name from their very first sculptural masterpiece; the Flaming Lotus Sr. The art collective makes use of interactive elements to form kinetic and innovative sculptural pieces that dazzle audiences with displays of light and fire. They’ve gone from using alloys of metal, to medleys of glass and wood to create flame spurts of up to 150 feet in height.

Soma Sculpture

A few years back, they created an original piece called Soma. They were deeply inspired by the ability of neurons to fire signals into a complex system of nodes and receptors. The large-scale sculpture exhibits two neurons that seemingly transfer signals to one another using intense displays of fire and light flow. One of the neurons roots itself onto the ground, while the other is hoisted higher above it. Computers are used to control the LED patterns within the connected neurons. The concept behind the interactivity isn’t limited to automation either. The complex design allows the public to communicate with the sculpture itself via a control system accessible to anyone. A Soma in nature is actually neuron with branches called dendrites and a projection called the axon. Basing from biological science, the art of Soma by this group of artists is a wonderful example of kinetic and contemporary art today.

Soma 2009 by the Flaming Lotus Girls – Photography by Michael Prados

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The State Art and Sculpture Museum in Ankara

Ankara’s Resim ve Heykel Müzesi (The State Art and Sculpture Museum) was a brainchild of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first president of the country. Its semi-regal architecture came from the design of Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu in 1927. The building originally exhibited a lot of 19th century art from the country’s artist community. The modern museum now restored and declared re-open to the public is a heritage center that creates a doorway into Turkey’s past and present artistic personalities. Along with an extended library dedicated to the plastic arts, the museum also features spaces where guest exhibitions can be held as well.

The State Art and Sculpture Museum

The restoration of the building gave it prime conditions to create a sound environment for the preservation of every artwork. The architecture and settings prevent problems due to temperature, humidity and the like. Aging damage can also be repaired within the museum grounds at a special restoration area specifically tasked for this purpose. The entire complex is laden with controlling systems that also signal for fires. Workshops that the museum currently offers are vast in number and are mainly about sculpture, painting, traditional printing, ceramics and the ornamental arts. The level of workshops may also vary, as people have demanded to create two levels of professional and beginner.

The Turkish museum holds many multi-cultural and multi-platform exhibitions in cooperation with foreign countries. Three of its galleries are reserved for periodical exhibits to showcase he work of foreign artists, and permanent pieces from the Turkish corner will be traveling to be displayed in other countries as well.

The Beauty of Sound Sculpture

Burnley Panopticon, the Singing Ringing Tree
Photograph by Daniel Childs

Who says that sculpture is purely a visual art? We believe that it is in fact a medium that can encompass all the senses (even at the same time.) Today let’s take a look at “sound sculpture”. These are artworks made to create a sound effect via their own composition. Artists often use the different properties of materials to create an echo or touch-sound based on human or environmental  interaction. Chimes are a good example of a kinetic sculpture that involves itself with the production of sound art. It uses the wind energy and creates pitch tones by moving into contact with its own metal elements.

Sound sculpture was influenced by kinetic sculpture and art cymatics, and exists as an intermedia in the world of art. Some famous artists that practice the art of sound sculpture are Maryanne Amacher, the Baschet Brothers, Hugh Davies and Henry Dagg.

Sound can be created in a number of ways. From touch, air, heat, electricity and the other types of energy. What sculptors of this genre seek to learn is the creativity that is fostered when combing the physics of sound with the curiosity of art. In our own contemporary world, Sound sculpture makes up a small portion of the evolving artforms that are slowly making their way into national museums and private galleries across the world.

Being inspired by kinetic sculpture means that sound sculptures are largely done using some form of energy. When exploring this type of sculpture, whether for a collection or a hobby, one must always critique the use of energy involved. The rate and type of transfers, the science behind the art, and the ingenuity of the composition. It takes a lot to meld science and art into a hybrid medley of beauty, however if done correctly, it can create a spark for creative innovation in the community.

Acrylic as a Sculpture Media

Acrylic is an industrial material that has several visual properties. Its good durability, coupled with its clear and transparent orientation makes it a good candidate for artistic endeavors. Through the years, people have been upgrading technology to make the usage of acrylics suitable to every household artist. Because of the toxicity in its casting process, it wasn’t widely adapted as a media until now. Acrylic was an intriguing material explored by the great Alexander Calder (inventor of the mobiles). Frederick Hart attempted to first cast it in the 1970’s. He joined with Robert Chase, Sr. and formed a company known as Chesley LLC, which was meant to create acrylic sculptures. Hart finally succeeded in 1982 with his piece “Gerontion.” This brought good news to the art community.

Clear acrylic sculptures are often coveted for their ability to shape light beams. Similar to the properties of glass, acrylic’s physical properties allow a playful distortion of light to shine through it clear interiors. Many acrylic sculptures have trained for more than several years practicing and mastering these unique traits of the medium. Such artists include Vasa Mihich of Vasa Studios, Paul Sable and Melanie Hope.

Colored acrylic sculptures are also a big hit at some places. Shlomi Haziza produces vivid creation of colored acrylic and her works are prized by dozens of patrons coveting her designs. Another artist, Shahrooz Nia has developed a technique for hand-painting acrylic sculptures and giving them the feel of a traditional artwork. Acrylic artists, though in tune with mastery of the media, often report of the difficulty involved with using it. Many galleries that sell pieces made from acrylics offer them at a high price, usually over 2000 US dollars for a standard sized piece.

With technological advancements fast approaching, one may wonder if in the future, more and more innovative artworks will be seen in this ever-curious novelty medium.

Kinetic Sculpture : The Art of Movement

newton's cradleKinetic refers to something in motion, so this form of sculpture can be defined by its unique aspect of integrating motion into its beauty and function. In some societies, both sound sculpture and light sculpture are also considered as kinetic art, but traditionalists refer to the term only when they pertain to concrete masses in motion.

Two popularized examples of kinetic sculpture are the mobile and the fountain.

First off, the mobile is a type of kinetic sculpture that makes use of the properties of equal balance. Weight and density are taken into detailed consideration when creating works in this field. Most mobile sculptures have separate elements hanging or balancing by some point of reference. This set of elements are set in motion by a slight force of wind or air current. Alexander Calder is one of the most famous and acclaimed mobile artists of the 19th century and was best known for many of his playful depictions created by crafting metals into mobile sculptures. The mobile is also a very popular teaching exercise used to instruct art students on the aspects of balance and composition.

The fountain is a type of kinetic sculpture that associates itself with a flow of liquid. Most common fountains today are used in a grand scale as center pieces in many hotels and resorts, but there are several artists who still practice the creation of solo or small fountains, such as the japanese bonsai-garden sculptors that make use of controlled water flow in their living artworks.

The motion-creator for any kinetic sculpture can stem from many different sources of energy, such as wind and water power, electrical power, steam power, mechanical (or human) power, or even using clock work. Historians argue that the very first kinetic sculpture was made by Marcel Duchamp. A piece entitles Bicycle Wheel in the early 19th century. At around the same time (but a bit later), Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner created their Realist Manifesto in Moscow. Kinetic art was finally  included as a novelty in the compilation.

If you would like to find Kinetic Art sculptors you could contact the Kinetic Art Organization or KAO, which is the largest international art organization of its kind.