Thursday, June 17, 2010

Judging the Sculpture Competition

Edward Minoff, who was one of the sculpture competition judges (along with Sabin Howard and Mason Sullivan) has written this blog entry on his experience of judging the competition.

I was honored to be asked to judge the sculpture competition, representing the painter's
perspective. I have some experience sculpting, but a deep love of sculpture, as well as
a yet unfulfilled dream of producing a small series of sculptures. In fact, it was exposure to
Michelangelo's work that first sparked my interest in art when I was a child, and led me to
the Art Students League where I spent a couple of tween summers chiseling away at a large
chunk of limestone trying to excavate a fish.

I had no idea of what to expect, beyond the very difficult task of deciding between the work of a
tremendous group of highly accomplished sculptors. The entire week of the sculpture competition I had to stay away from the scene and resisted the urge to check the GCA blog for fear of seeing a picture of a sculpture in progress, or worse, a sculptor working on his or her sculpture.

Although I taught at the GCA in the evenings during the competition, I did not at any time enter into the sculpture studio until the judging -- Jacob Collins noted that he was happy to not be a judge this year because he was finally allowed to view the works in process. These great pains were taken to avoid seeing the sculptures at any stage so that the judging could be completely blind. When the judges were finally allowed into the room to see the sculptures, there was no way to know to whom each sculpture belonged. The sculptures were left on their stands with nothing else to distinguish or identify them. We judged based on five criteria, awarding 1-5 points for each. The model, Jimmy, held the pose so that we could compare each sculpture to him to determine it's accuracy, one of the five judging criteria. A monitor remained in the room throughout the judging, and only released the names of the sculptors after we had finalized our judgement.

It was a very difficult decision because all of the sculptures possess great merit, however, I think that anybody who looks objectively at the sculptures will see that our decision awards the works that best display an authentic and deeply understood classical, humanist aesthetic. Our decision, I believe, is supported by the pictures of the outstanding winners posted on the GCA blog.

My congratulations to the winners and to all of the highly skilled artists who were selected to participate and who made our decision so difficult. Many thanks to my fellow judges, from whom I learned a great deal about looking at sculpture, and the GCA for allowing me to serve as a judge in the competition.

Edward Minoff

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