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Staples of sculpture: by Jerry Bleem.

The artist Jerry Bleem works with everyday found objects, and staples! He creates organic forms, mostly vessels of some kind, that resemble abstracted plant life, shells and fossils. It is the practical as well as symbolic nature of the vessel that attracts the artist's interest.

The myriad of staples that cover the outer surface of the sculptures mostly conceal the constituent parts. But the artist is arguably working within an ancient tradition that dates back thousands of years, and which he consciously erodes.

Bronze casting is thought to date back to at least 3,000 years before Christ. The heart of the principle is to take an inexpensive base material that can be sculpted, such as clay or wood, and then to make a casting from a precious, or at least noble metal, such as bronze. By casting the art in such a material, it becomes physically permanent and therefore immortalized.

In a sense Jerry Bleem is also taking a base material such as found paper or card, from which he makes sculpture that is then immortalized in metal. But this is illusory. When the material forming the base is rotted, or even in the case of paper wet, the staples will collapse and the original form of the art is lost, thus conferring a temporal quality to the piece.

The meaning may well, of course, endure. What then would a heap of staples mean?

Gratitude to Junk culture.




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