Written by Daniel Mariotti
“ANYTHING WORTH DOING IS WORTH OVERDOING” – Carole Feuerman
Carole A. Feuerman is acknowledged as one of the three major American hyperrealist sculptors that started the movement in the 1970s. Easier for her to express her emotions through sculpture than through her words, she tells stories of strength, survival, and balance. Her artwork is in numerous collections that include that of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, William and Hillary Clinton, Malcolm Forbes, and spans four continents in four decades. Feuerman seeks to connect with her viewers on an intuitive level, evoking emotion and engagement. It is often the viewer’s participation, or the object/viewer relationship, that completes her work. Feuerman maintains two studios in New York and New Jersey. On an ongoing basis, Feuerman’s work can be seen in selected galleries and museums worldwide.
We’ve worked with Feuerman for a while and on over 30 projects together! We feel like we have a true collaboration with her between foundry and artist; sometimes having to come up with innovative solutions to ideas and designs. Though a “traditional” sculptor, Feuerman doesn’t shy away from using new technology such as 3d modeling and CNC milling machines to push her work in monumental directions.
One of the most challenging pieces we helped Carole with was Double Diver, which now permanently stands at NetApp’s campus in Sunnyvale California.
This sculpture was made from scanning and piecing together her single diver piece so that the figure sat on top of itself, creating an “S” curve. Carole then made the hand and feet transition, making sure we had enough room to fit our armature inside. Once completed, it was once again scanned in and stitched together making the piece digitally finished. We had to make slight adjustments to the angle of figures with the foresight of it needing to be as stacked to itself as possible to ensure sculptural security. Once adjusted and redesigned this was then enlarged and milled on our FROG mill CNC machine and sent to Carole to put in the details and make molds.
Carole’s original intent was to use her “painting with fire” technique which involves splashing different metals into an open-face sand mold, creating an aggressive movement of a piece that feels very organic. However, due to the size of the Double Diver (measuring 26 feet high), this would create several problems:
because this technique is a very organic method of creating work, it is unpredictable how much the final piece would weigh; also, pooling in certain areas and being thin in the high spots of the mold is possible, making the work unsafe even with structural engineering. Because of this, new and unique methodologies had to be invented to realize it.
Tom Bollinger had the idea to mimic the “painting with fire” method with wax instead of bronze, where it could be controlled enough to get our standard thickness consistent all around. Head wax artisan Ron Lyons spent some time to R&D different prototypes of the dripped wax method. The first couple of attempts felt too stringy, and the artist wanted larger forms that fit like a puzzle. Ron pushed his skillset and was able to control the wax to create beautiful and carefully dripped large pools of wax. After Carole’s approval, the wax department went to work and implemented Ron’s method to the Double Diver molds. The solution for dressing the seams was to create what Carole called “cookies”, making individual larger drips on a baking pan and then layering them on top of the piece.
Feuerman made several trips from New York City to work with our artisans.
“I loved working with Tom Bollinger and his team. They really did the impossible to help me create Double Diver!” –Carole Feuerman.
After final wax approvals, the piece went through the rest of the lost wax process. We poured 2 tons of bronze over several weeks of work.
Bollinger also designed and engineered the structure for Double Diver with the help of Caruso Turley Scott Structural Engineers. A key component was to use 17-4 Stainless Steel for the weakest parts of the piece (hand and feet connection, bronze to base connections). 17-4 stainless is ten times as strong as 304 or 316, but also much more expensive, which is why we had to design the armature to be as efficient with our materials as possible.
We also completely designed and fabricated the stainless steel base that Double Diver sits on. This includes lighting, design, and access door for any maintenance work that may need to be done. The Double Diver slots into two sleeves that perfectly fit the posts coming out of the figure’s hands and are securely bolted from inside the base.
For the patina, Carole used iridescent paint which allowed the beautiful luster of the bronze to shine through; drawing inspiration from the natural patinas her “Painting with Fire” series contains.
It was test fit with its base a final time and prepped to ship to California. At the unveiling of this monumental piece on April 10th, its silhouette immediately took over the site. The details and hard work reflected the light and were revealed for all to enjoy for many years to come.
“As challenging as this project was, it was exciting to solve and engineer the Diver from beginning to end and once again proves the astute craftsmanship that our team does on a day to day basis.” – Tom Bollinger
Ever busy exhibiting; Carole will have an exhibition on May 10th and 11th in Venice, Italy. To stay up to date follow her on INSTAGRAM.
Carole also established the Carole A. Feuerman Sculpture Foundation in order to generate excitement, interest and passion for the arts and to inspire and award deserving artists with exhibition opportunities, internships for college credit and education/research grants.
Visit Carole A. Feuerman’s website: www.carolefeuerman.com
Visit the Carole A. Feuerman Foundation website: www.carolefeuermanfoundation.org
And to see more of the work we have made for her visit our portfolio page: https://bollingeratelier.com/portfolio-carole-a-feuerman/