Harley Valentine is a contemporary Canadian artist based in Toronto. He is currently working on a major sculpture commission that will stand in the plaza of the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, a space directly in front of Daniel Libeskind’s famed L Tower residence building. As a sculptor, he is an aficionado of 3D work, but he is also a photographer and in his works each stand as a way of communicating differently, rather than one being a poor substitute for the other.
Capturing the multi-dimensional world we occupy in a two-dimensional medium is sometimes seen as a sacrifice, an absence of reality. Artists throughout history have called that differentiation between realism and falsehood into question. When Picasso was once asked why he didn’t paint things that were real, he responded by pointing to a photograph in the room and offering his deepest sympathies that her husband was so small and flat. Recognizing that a sculpture is more than its physical presence, but also is comprised of the experience of it by viewers, means that there is an aspect of sculpture that is uniquely captured in its photography rather than its presence.
Valentine combines photography and 3D printed sculptures to create a series of unique experiences, spatial and visual, of the works. Drawing on the work of sculptors such as Alexander Calder and John McCracken, Valentine creates larger than life forms, combining bold colors and the geometries of futurism. Harnessing the potential of photography to capture more than the purely theoretical “unbiased view of reality” he examines and re-presents his pieces and the experience of them in an environment.
For Valentine, the photographing of his sculpture exhibitions is more than a record of their arrangement or existence but is actually an act of creativity in its own right.
“I find it incredibly rewarding collaborating with talented photographers and staging exhibition shoots. I think photography of sculpture is very fascinating, the way that you can capture a sculpture in two-dimensional form. I’m always after strengthening the language of my sculpture through the medium of photography.”
The sculptures that he creates are monumental but they begin to take their 3D form as models created on the bed of a 3D printer. He says of his process:
“I am driven to create a new formalism with steel, born through the process of 3D printing. Utilizing the limitless 3D modeling tools, my forms are created to challenge engineering and capture movement and motion through static forms in new, dynamic ways.”
None of this is to say that there is no need to see his work in person. However, if you can’t, the consolation is that whether through standing in front of his sculpture or looking at his images of it, you are having a complete experience. Let’s hear your thoughts on this art work in the Harley Valentine forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below depicted some of Valentine’s art.
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