As the twentieth century begins to pick up speed, new generations begin to make their presence felt in the art world. What has always been the standard for sculpture no longer seems to be. Traditional forms and textures remain steadfast but new forms and materials have begun to emerge in an effort to take sculpture to a whole new horizon.
Take The Singing Tree that stands ominously perched in Lancashire, England. Completed in 2006, it was to be one of four landmarks, or Panopticon, sculptures for the area. These sculptures certainly put the shire on the map but locals do not see much value in them. The tree stands nearly ten feet tall and is made of galvanized steel pipes. The sculptors drilled holes in the pipes so that they could be properly tuned to make a certain sound when the wind blew through them. It is a most unusual and haunting “singing” that the locals just haven’t got used to yet.
Then there is the movement toward what is known as natural art or the using of natural objects such as feathers or various fruits. They can be quite pleasing to look at and the standard for the form is that the piece appears to always be in motion. One fad that seems to have gripped the hospitality industry of late is that of towel sculpturing. To take the towels of a hotel’s room and create a work of art seems to be enjoyed by everyone. It seems rather reminiscent of waiters and waitresses who had the skill to create artistic visions with linen napkins.
Who, of course, has never seen some of the most legendary sand sculptures ever created? There are many parts of the country, such as New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach, which hold sand sculpting contests every year. Artists from all over the world come to compete and the public seems to love the work and continue to be enthralled every year. Many of the completed pieces are simply stunning.
Finally, two unique forms have emerged early into the twentieth century. Fantasy art has established a firm grip with artists such as Michelle Bradshaw daring to sweep us into another world, another time. Then there is what is being called “real life” sculpture from brilliant artists like Ron Mueck. Some of the pieces can be breathtaking to look at as the craftsmanship is adroit and precise and causes us to pause and be reminded of even the most mundane that human existence has to offer.