Behind the Curtain, 2015
• carrara petacchi marble
• 16.5” H x 16.5” W x 4” D (42cm H x 42cm W x 10cm D)
Michael Binkley carved this original fine art marble sculpture of the back of a nude torso and is another in his explorations into carving the human figure underneath drapery. This sculpture is a female torso that has backed into a diaphanous curtain. The drapery clings to most of the female form, with only a few wrinkles evident.
The original block of Carrara marble was relatively flat and somewhat square. Binkley wanted to make the curtains quite thin at the edges, so a strong backlight would make them glow. This is evident in the last photo, where the bright sun is penetrating the edges. It is a high relief style with the attention focused on the figurative side of the sculpture. The viewer’s eye is drawn to the buttocks and the clinging drapery on this side. The drapes fall in vertical folds on either side of the figure but gather between the buttocks and cling to the left hip and the right thigh. The opposite side is a simple composition of a smooth, undulating surface. Here, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the striations of the marble.
Binkley has given the entire sculpture a smooth, matte finish that is wonderful to touch and gives the stone the ability to successfully hold shadows. The choice of a monochromatic marble makes the material visually inferior to the subject, which is a purposeful and important element for his figurative sculptures.
Binkley began work on this piece at the NWSSA’s Suttle Lake Symposium in Oregon, USA, August 2015. The artist was demonstrating his techniques for conception and execution of a marble sculpture for the other participants.