The Art of Life Reviewed By Norm Goldman & Lily Azerad-Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.
He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.
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Authors: Sabin Howard and Traci L. SlattonISBN: 978-0-9846726-0-8
Publisher: Parvati Press
Books on art can sometimes be very dry, academic commentaries that often make for tiresome and tedious reading, except to those involved in the study of the subject matter.
However, with Sabin Howard's and Traci L. Slatton's The Art of Life you are in the possession of a beautiful collection of personal essays and visually stunning content that renders to its readers a vivid glimpse into the world of sculpture and in particular the work of a young American classical figurative sculptor, Sabin Howard. And for those who are not familiar with his brilliant work, it can best be summed up by a quote from the New York Times that has described him “as a sculptor of immense talent and has created some of the last decades most substantive realist sculptors. When viewing his works, visitors may be reminded of the times when Rodin and Donatello walked the Earth.”
Combining their talents as writer and sculptor, this pair of kindred spirits have crafted a coffee-table book wherein each chapter is written in unambiguous language without any touch of drabness or mundanity. Moreover, even if you don't have a deep interest in the subject matter, there is nevertheless enough nourishment to the senses and the mind that will unquestionably provide you with a priceless and meaningful appreciation of the art of sculpture. Perhaps, you will likewise experience the same awakening that Traci and Sabin had when, in their youth, they first entered the Medici Chapel in Florence. What a treat that must have been!
Consisting of seven chapters that are spread over two hundred pages, The Art of Life divides itself into A call to Beauty, The Foundation Supports everything, Education brings freedom, An Artist's body of work is his biography, The daily grind or process makes perfect, Living with sculptures, and Drawings. Within these chapters readers enjoy a wonderful piece of historical narrative and excellent lively brief elucidations of sculpture from the Balikligol man of Turkey to Ancient Egypt's King Menkawre and his wife, to the Greek sculptors to the Italians like Donatello, Bernini, Michelangelo, Granbologna, and the Frenchman Rodin until their descendant, Sabin Howard.
Among the themes examined are how human spirit is elevated by art, why the authors believe that figurative sculpture is the greatest expression of truth, beauty and narrative that humans possess, Sabin’s process, history and evolution as an artist: from New York City to Rome and back again, from the studio to the foundry, the value of art, which is not about investment or money, and what it means to create beautiful, relevant and important art. Incidentally, Traci does not contain her feelings when it comes to lambasting gallery owners whom she doesn't exactly treat with kid gloves.
Quite engrossing and gripping is the last chapter where Sabin illustrates his beautiful intricate anatomical drawings that have been garnered from his decades of experience in the studio, his many tens of thousands of hours working with life models and his sixteen years of teaching of the models for his sculptures that translate life into artistic terms. The sensuality of his creations, the sobriety of his material and the intricate details all give personality to his sculptures that participate in the art of living and create a visual conquest. The functional becomes poetry as these incredible realistic sculptures seem to evolve into a world in perpetual movement.
As with any good art book, it's the pictures that do the talking, and in this case the authors don't disappoint, as they have incorporated over one hundred majestic photos with accompanying descriptive texts concerning the works of some of the greatest sculptors as Michelangleo's Night, Bernini's Santa Theresa, Polykleitos's Doryphros, David and Hermes. Also included are images of Howard's magnificent work, who after years of training with the most prestigious teachers in New York and Italy, has succeeded in emulating these masters to their perfection as exemplified by his sculptures of Hermes, Apollo and Aphrodite. These are remarkable and breathtaking, showcasing lights and shadows.
This is one art book that
will keep you enthralled for hours and you will probably concur with
Sabin's teacher, Martha Erlebacher, who effectively summarized for Traci that “sculpture of the human form is a metaphor for the
human desire to live forever. That desire is what's embodied in great
sculpture.” And as Traci adds, “we are fighting time. That's at
the root of the human condition.”
(*The above review has been a combined effort by Norm Goldman and Lily Azerad-Goldman)
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