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REFLECTIONS ON THE ART OF SCULPTURE

REFLECTIONS ON THE ART OF SCULPTURE

By R. PAYTON EWING

The purpose of art is neither to indoctrinate nor educate, but to illuminate the human mind.

This observation by a gifted contemporary priest best summarizes my life-long passion for figurative sculpture.

It all began in 1944 when I was a 19-year old American soldier in Paris, three months after its liberation.

One winter day I wandered in between the gates of the Hotel Brion, which I discovered was the Rodin Museum. From the moment I encountered the huge Gates of Hell and a separate towering The Thinker in the courtyard, until I emerged from the museum buildings two hours later. My senses were swamped, drenched with emotions and ideas emanating from his many works.

As I walked out between the gates into the Rue Varenne, I was literally drunk from this emotional encounter with this art of such a high order. From that time on, I have been a devoted appreciator of figurative sculpture. Five years later in the graduate school at the University of Chicago, I accidentally discovered that I was naturally gifted at sculpting (or modeling) with clay.

Since then, my life has been devoted to the study of the sculptural arts. Although I earned my living as a writer and couldn't devote my full-time to figurative sculpture until retired from the Northwestern University faculty. I chose sculpting as my retirement career and not as my hobby. For the past 27 years I have followed this career.

Recently I decided my creations are worthy of being cast in bronze and offered to the public, under the name "R. Payton Ewing"—my full name "parted on the side." Although hither to for I have been known as (a.k.a.) Ray Ewing, an East Coast artist (a painter) seems to have arrogated that name to himself for commercial purposes. Hence my new effort to differentiate myself and my works.

My aesthetics view works of art, especially figurative sculptures, as completed ideas, wrapped in all the emotions, notions, connotations associated with it. Its purpose is to illuminate the human condition, emerging from unconscious and blind matter.

It is noteworthy that sculptors can reverse the brevity of beauty with the longevity of of bronze, marble and terracotta.