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Action Figures

August 8, 2010

On the move

An ongoing current project is converting our two-car garage into a usable studio space for me. So, I’m going through things there in the hope of editing down and avoiding clutter. Doing this I become distracted by the sight of several figures in my collection of carved wooden objects. They’re all favorites and all seem to share a common trait: they move. Ironically, when a person moves clumsily or stiffly they’re described as wooden … now, I have in my hands these mostly small, hand-made sculptures, and all were veritable action figures. Join me for the figure study …

The rooster, too

Moving out — and taking his rooster with him — this determined young man has packed his bag and hit the road … not that he’s in a hurry. This ebony carving, a Long Beach Flea Market find, is a tightly-rendered piece with nice detail. The black wood is polished to a smooth sheen and is overall quite elegant.

Hat steppin'

It’s easy to imagine that this jaunty hat vendor might be the top seller down at the mercado — this guy’s selling his wares with style! I can sense the artist’s delight while carving the repetitive lines created by the curved brims of stacked hats. Those curves a great counterpoint to the zig-zag movement of the figure’s limbs. He’s a study in cool.

Modern model

Like a couture fashion model showing off a streamlined look from The House of Balenciaga, this ultra-stylized piece showcases the figure reduced to pure line. Abstracted, yet clearly human, it displays a very controlled movement. Sleek and clean, with not a hair out of place, this is ebony perfection.

Roots movement

In a complete one-eighty, this rough acolyte of modern dance was first a gnarled branch. This is a case of the material whispering to the artist what it should be, and I can picture him turning this in his hand as he listened. I love how the twist-y form became a dancer’s movement and the textured bark a costume … Martha Graham would approve.

Hot moves

I’ve saved the best for last: Never have I seen wood turned into something so sensual. The bodies of this man and woman seem to be trying to become one, and each is pushing toward that goal. Propelled upward by tapered legs, the two become entwined curves that end in a smothering kiss. This little carving of two dancers is very erotically charged and everything about it is hot, hot, hot! I can just imagine its maker enjoying every little gouge, the feeling of polishing the rounded forms and sinuous curves and staining it so warmly. This piece seems to have come out of a particularly fond memory.

Kate Gosselin’s stomping about on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ was wooden, these little sculptures are anything but … They all came from flea markets and antique stores, I have no idea who carved them, and I’m really proud to own them.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2010 6:00 pm

    i do not speak English, too bad …. I come regularly to see product, then just a quick note to say that I appreciate them very much.
    Very beautiful sculptures

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 8, 2010 10:13 pm

      Your English is fine, thanks, Willow!

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