"Antares", "Atria", "Altair"
Silver Gelatin Photo
M.L. SNOWDEN SCULPTURE
Snowden’s newest chapter for bronze, the Starscape Unit, brings to life a spectrum of stars that sweep across the universe. Where the Stellar Sphere Group imagined candescent bodies visible to the naked eye from Earth that ranged from the Sun in Solaris to the Moon in Lunas, Snowden’s Starscape Unit is a collection devoted to stars both near and far as well as those Royally and numerically named, that extend illumination into the reaches of deep space.
Through Snowden’s signature style that combines abstraction and figurative elements, the sculptures of the Starscape Unit explore dynamic qualities of liveliness in abstract jets of bronze that evoke scientifically analyzed energy patterns that distinguish each luminous body and that are as unique as snowflakes. Through the deft orchestration of energy spirals wrought in sheer metal, Snowden’s unrivaled sculptural gift communicates a vivid sense of heightened energetic personality that brings each star’s nucleus to life. When we pause to consider the immensity of the universe and the gargantuan scale of its phenomena, we realize that Snowden’s art intuits vast resources that are condensed into an extraordinary frame of reference in these bronzes that are created for our personal contemplation.
In the sculptor’s plan, each bronze of the Starscape Unit evokes a star seen at a certain distance across parsecs of space. The sculptor’s conceptual vision has optically reduced star-mass to the scale of the bronze at an optimal viewing dimension that also reveals the heart of the star. Through these unique works, Snowden contemplates our star-based connection with the heavens that reverberates throughout our own cellular structures and every aspect of our geological planetary relationship.
Through the direct application of exquisite techniques inherited from the greatest sculpture studios of the 19th century epitomized in the touch of the Rodin tools, Snowden’s bronzes in the Starscape Unit capture rare levels of energy, inspiration, and meaning.
Antares, the first star of the collection, radiates a magnetic, otherworldly sense of personality and vigor. Indeed, Antares is the lively conceptual portrait of the star’s candescent nucleus brought into focus through almost magical levels of detail. Scientifically, Antares is a particularly large star, with a mass over 500 times the size of the Sun. It is 520 light years from Earth. As a supergiant, it lies in a colored and luminous cloud 5 light years in diameter that is composed of metallic dust. In the night sky it appears as a small diamond, about the size of a period mark. In the hands of the sculptor, Antares measures just 24 inches that conceptually would require a voyage of many light years to optically bring the star to that dimension in the viewer’s field of vision. In Snowden’s work, we dip through the clouds and the corona of the star, moving past its fission and fusion to access its deep meaning as a living and creative entity expressed in the figurative sculptor’s timeless and elemental language.
For the sculptor and across the ages, Antares remains a fascinating star. Evoked in Snowden’s figural synthesis, Antares translates, “Rival of Mars,” which from antiquity has been thought to influence positive changes in the lives of individuals and collective humanity. It symbolizes the heart of aspiration, desire and inspiration underlying the divinity of life. In ancient China, Antares was crucial in the four divisions of ancient astrology. In the sculpture, the reaching intensity of the nucleus reminds us of Antares’ importance to the life of humankind: many ancient Grecian temples received a special blessing by facing their structures toward the rising and setting of Antares at the Vernal Equinox that included Heraeum at Argos along with the temple of Apollo at Delphi. In ancient Babylonia, Antares was considered the Creator of Prosperity and the Egyptians saw Antares as a symbol of Isis and abundance in pyramid ceremonies. Since ancient Persian times, Antares has been considered one of four Royal stars that guard the heavens. As a bronze, Antares exudes an indescribable sense of emotion and outreach that connects humankind to the cosmos through inspiration and art.