First Idea Show


The National Sculpture Society is pleased to present the First Idea Show. The exhibition features the work of 11 members of the Society and will be on view from September 5 through November 3 at the NSS Gallery in midtown Manhattan. Many of the works included in the First Idea Show illustrate an artist’s first pass at a sculptural concept and offer a glimpse into the artistic process. Some of the works on display have been successfully realized, while others are still in progress, and others are simply exercises to jumpstart the imagination. Sketches, photos, statements, mock-ups, and maquettes tell the story of how the sculptor’s brain works and lets the viewer see that the creative path — from inspiration to completed sculpture — is rarely a straight line. The sculptures on display represent the different styles, backgrounds, and disciplines of NSS members. Fellows (FNSS), Elected Members (NSS), and Associates comprise the levels of membership of the organization which is international in scope and appeal. National Sculpture Society is a not-for-profit organization which supports excellence in sculpture through various educational programs including scholarships and grants for emerging artists.

The Jury of Selection plays an important part in shaping and balancing an exhibition and each jury is comprised of two sculptors and one curator. For the First Idea Show, the Jury of Selection included Rosetta, FNSS , Gary Staab, FNSS , and Cameron Shay, Director, GrahamShay 1857 Gallery (New York, NY).

Artists in the show are John Belardo, FNSS; Ezra Bookstein; Bobbie Carlyle, NSS; Mario Chiodo; Eugene Daub, FNSS; Morgan Dummitt, NSS; Cathy Ferrell; Lee Hutt, FNSS; Leslie Hutto, NSS; Bruno Lucchesi, FNSS; and Steven Whyte, NSS.

Colorado artist, Bobbie Carlyle discusses the long history and many renditions of her sculpture, Sunriser. “My sculpture Sunriser has evolved from a 16″ tall maquette entry in an award competition for NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) in Boulder, CO. I didn’t win the competition,” says Carlyle. “From the start, Sunriser was designed to be symbolic of renewal, of rebirth, of innate natural power. Throughout her many renditions, she has kept that interpretation: from the 16″ tall version showing a female Phoenix erupting from the earth, to an 8’ tall framed bronze relief, to an 8′ tall three-dimensional female figure standing on a sphere.”

The marshland birds in Cathy Ferrell’s native Florida inspired her sculpture, but the process of capturing their aerodynamic bodies and sleek silhouettes took many attempts before she settled on her final design. “The Swallowtail Kites have such elegant beauty as they soar over our ponds and wetlands and are a source of inspiration. Sighting one brings joy and a sense of deep peace,” explains Ferrell. “This design process was slow and an accumulation of fast field sketches and a wish to share their beauty and grace. I began with sketches, then played with aluminum flashing, hammering out wing curves and playing with base or support options.  Motion and attitude were next, so the perforated aluminum and wire allowed me to try many choices. Finally, non-hardening wax-based clay, led to the final form, which was then cast in bronze.”

For NSS Fellow, Lee Hutt, her three portraits of Ben is only just the start of her sculptural journey. “It started as a quick portrait of Ben, who sat for me,” Hutt begins. “I used that sketch to refine the portrait and then had it enlarged and cast in resin. I had a mold made of the refined portrait and pushed clay into the mold…then fired the clay. I kept adding clay to the fired piece….as my ideas developed. The last treatment of this piece was to glaze it and fire it in the kiln. It is possible to continue to add to the last version…and I probably will do that.”

National Sculpture Society was founded in New York City in 1893 by a group of America’s most prominent sculptors. Its members have created much of this country’s public sculpture, coins, and medals since the late 1800s. It is the oldest organization of professional sculptors in the United States and has been hosting exhibitions for over a century. Fellows (FNSS), Elected Members (NSS), and Associates designate the types of sculptor membership in the organization, which is international in scope and appeal. National Sculpture Society is dedicated to promoting excellence in sculpture that is inspired by nature.