• red travertine & granite
• 28” H x 46” W x 24” D (71cm H x 117cm W x 61cm D)
• private collection, North Vancouver, BC, Canada
This is an abstract female torso original stone sculpture that Michael Binkley carved from a block of red travertine that he brought back from Pietrasanta, Italy in 2008. The composition is reminiscent of Greek amphora jars, as Binkley feels those ancient vessels look so feminine and torso-like. Binkley has done several variations on this theme, so the influence is still with him. There are several interesting undulating edge lines that help to carry the eye around the sculpture. Note how a single line begins at the figure’s left hip, flows up the lateral muscles, around the left shoulder, down over the breasts, up over the right shoulder, down the right lateral muscles and curls around the right hip and into the figure’s lap. This subtle composition detail also creates wonderful shadows and carries the viewer’s eye around the sculpture.
The title was suggested by a Facebook friend, Sharka and it is a pose from Yoga, meaning the hero pose, or Virasana. Binkley liked the esoteric lilt to the word and it fits the abstract nature of the sculpture. The figure appears to be sitting, or doing a sit-up.
Since travertine is one of those very colourful and busy pattered stones, Binkley chooses to create only simple, stylized shapes from it. The finish of Virasana is a smooth, matte surface so the colour of the stone is enhanced, but it does not reflect light. The viewer will initially notice the stone, and then the form that it is carved into, so it is best to keep the artwork simple. Since the grain of the stone was orientated perpendicular to the cut block, Binkley had to maneuver the composition so that the grain was at an angle and allowed the sculpture to not look too rigid. The sculpture sits on a black granite base with a highly polished top and ashler edges.