M.L. SNOWDEN SCULPTURE
Heliocore stands as a unique statement for the art of sculpture. Within M.L. Snowden’s Celestial Array collection, Heliocore joins Starfire Polaris, Lunas, Solaris, and other artworks as an important exploration for the art of lost wax bronze casting.
Heliocore in particular conceptually contemplates a compositional form that elementally realigns and celebrates the same interstellar matter found within stars that empowers our own human physicality. Heliocore gives breadth to M.L. Snowden’s central idea that the very substance of humankind, stars, planetary masses and bronze are octaves of one another, created of the same interrelated yet differently arranged elements. According to science, our very existence was created out of a massive supernova ‘death star’ that created the periodic table of elements and all existing matter. In this work, it is the sculptor’s intention to reassert our primal connection to the farthest reaches of the universe- a universe that remains illumined by innumerable candescent suns.
Heliocore exhibits a graceful sweep of energy through an attenuated composition. Indeed, Heliocore is based on a pure energy frisson that unfurls and jets out in a scarf-like formation. Viewed front or back, whorls of heat shape a thin dimensional solar draft. Here in bronze, Snowden invokes a coronal ray that emanates from the core of a star. The sculpture can be viewed as a noble and heraldic solar banner flown upwards from our Sun across parsecs of space.
Above all, Heliocore is a portrait of the condensed physical arm of our own nearest Sun. In essence, Heliocore is a portrait of the hand of the Sun that has the power to touch Earth and all living things upon it. It is the sculptor’s meditation that our physical form is shaped as a result of all the impressive attributes of the physical universe that stream through us and upon us. Here, most eloquently felt, we are children shaped by and of the physical rays of the sun. In this profound relationship, we are within ourselves and within the art of sculpture - expressions of the very nature of light and motion.
If creation is indeed fractal as is presently described by the cutting edge mathematics of Mandelbrot and Wolfram, then Heliocore presents us with a scale model evocation not only of a coronal mass ejection, but with an energy ray off a cellular nucleus. Within the fractal context for the sculptor, humankind figures at the heart of sculpture as well as at the heart of interstellar and microscopic phenomena as a natural outgrowth of expressing advanced energy sequences. Snowden’s direct inheritances of the great sculptural traditions established in the immortal figures of Rodin and Mercie’ are lifted out of their traditional context in the works of the Geological Coreium. In the crucible of Snowden’s astonishing talent, humankind is readdressed as the essential catalytic expression that melds contemporary vistas of science and mathematics to a timeless expression of the human spirit and the human anatomical energy body.
In Snowden’s estimate, any holistic approach to science and art melds humanitarian form as an essential concept and context of cosmic phenomena. Indeed, such is the humanitarian rationale of Snowden in keeping alive the figurative tradition in an otherwise purely abstract arena of contemporary art. Snowden pursues a radical millennial vision where the wellspring of humanitarian form is essential to her artistic vision and direction, not as a choice but as an imperative. Working alone in her perspective, Snowden has spent her entire lifetime dedicated the purity of her art.
M.L. Snowden’s sculpture is in the permanent collection of the international headquarters of Genzyme, the world’s foremost leader in genetic medical and mathematical research located between Harvard and MIT. In works such as Heliocore, M.L. Snowden reinvents the figure in a central preoccupation with anatomy that comes forward to project a new framework for shaping sculpture. As critic Remo Nevi has observed, “ It is safe to say no other sculptor at work in the world has ever shaped a body of bronze equal to the vision, the profound insight or the cohesive program of M.L. Snowden’s Geological Coreium. Snowden’s sculpture can be seen as a door to gaining the truth of contemporary man in moments of profound bronze insight. Snowden’s art forms a crossroads; a nexus; a crown of our cultural ethos. Heliocore makes a central contribution to art that is destined to stand unfading into time as the hallmark of our age at the millennium.”
Independent of any intellectual understanding, Snowden’s works present marvelous dimensional optical and tactile imagery. Heliocore is a sculpture that literally invites us to reach out and touch every glowing metal nuance and plane. Yet, within Heliocore’s elegant ray, the pinnacle of space is touched upon as a metaphor for piercing the boundaries of human achievement. In Snowden’s words, “We have the power of the star at heart.” In Snowden’s estimate, all the vastness of energy contained within the star is set as an expression of our own particular and private power to ignite and illuminate our individual sphere of living. Within this contemplation, the sculptor has perceived the sculpture to be a unique casting of a single ‘Artist’s Hard Copy’ culminating in the existence of just one complete and perfected Fournier Bronze.
For the sculptor, Helicore is an intensely personal expression of hope and striving. Studying the sculpture, ideas of high purpose and even pathos riven with sacrifice seem to dimensionally come forward depending upon changing light sources that reflect on the work. In Snowden’s words, “The burning of the “Core” in this bronze - is the light of the mind”
Using no models or references to express form, Snowden sculpts Heliocore in a kaleidoscope of motions and forms; the whole scarf of the composition reflects much of the synergistic balance that Rodin propounded. As Snowden reflects, “It was one of the big lessons that my father passed to me: that for every contraction of musculature there is an extension; that for every side of the sculptural armature there is balance achieved by an opposing weight.” Heliocore drives upwards in an ancient ascending line of abstract contraposto seen in works from Michelangelo’s David, back through time to the ancient Grecian Pentellic Marble Kritos Boy, the first known statue in the world to exhibit the contrapposto position. And yet for Snowden on a voyage of her own discovery, such posture is seen throughout nature in the flight of swallow’s wings; in the yin and yang; in the holy scriptural calligraphic markings of the biblical Septuagint and beyond, even to the “S” that begins the sculptor’s “Snowden” signature. The very reaching of the figure in Heliocore expresses the natural “S” in an elliptical elongation of the overall composition that reaches innately into balance wherever it is achieved in the universe.
Heliocore has been sculpted by Snowden into new levels of metallurgical virtuosity The hands exhibit dramatic energy wands and seem as if they are shaped by uprising winds of fire alone. Helicore’s long vertical weight is offset by the “S” curve that balances the structure and proceeds from a new metallurgical protocol for a variegated thin structure that on its outward planes evokes a skein of silk. M.L. Snowden invented the protocols and specific foundry wax that makes the casting of Helicore possible.
From important roots in the Paris studios of Rodin and Antonin Mercié, Snowden brings to Helicore the glowing luminous platinum Fournier Patina. Heliocore is the first sculpture in the oeuvre of the works of M.L. Snowden to invent the alchemy of precious nacre baked into platinum with burning hot open torches.
The inspiration for the advancement of the essential historic patina came to the sculptor in contemplation of Heliocore one of the sculptor’s visits to the Pacific Ocean. There, in thinking about Heliocore, the sculptor picked up a sea shell. Under the rays of the full noon sun, the nacre of the shells split sunlight into colors of the spectrum from red to green to purple. While other star suns in the galaxy exhibit their largest energy output as cool radio waves or hot gamma rays or x-rays, our Sun’s greatest energy is in the visible light range. Indeed, the Fournier Patina is infused with rainbow nacre developed through an advanced technique invented by Snowden. Front and back, Heliocore is an exploration of the reaches of the Fournier Patina in experimental coloristic possibilities. Here in a unique patina, molten silver stars and pure golden ore is sweated from within and without a surface of platinum bronze to achieve a buttered glaze of rich texture and depth.
The historic Rodin tools were used to shape the dynamic planes of Heliocore: Tools number 3, 9 and tool number 7 were used to mold the delicate surfaces of the sculpture. Made of French boxwood, the tools are as smooth as river rock and lend a particular brilliant surface luster to clay that transposes to the eventual bronze surface. Additionally, Heliocore’s Rodin armature lent itself to long passages of uninterrupted clay application that permitted the sculpture to be molded in two contiguous sections that dramatically advance the sculpture’s chasing protocols. The resultant smooth surface of Heliocore is a fine testament to its advanced metallurgical science and elemental patina chemistry.