Carol Alleman's sculptures
Biography Carol Alleman
In late 2001, Carol Alleman expanded her artistic visions in clay to include the lost wax casting in bronze. Embracing the alchemistic nature of this ageless material and highly crafted process, she created her first bronze vessel, Miracles. Thus began the mystical and organic Tree of Life and Nature Vessel Series. Her signature, museum-quality work encompasses highly evolved, intricate patinas within the vessel form. Companion Writings accompany each bronze - contemplating thoughts and questions on the philosophies of life, the human condition and the countless mysteries of nature. Combining the written word with her growing forest of bronze vessels, Carol additionally inspires audiences through her presentations and poetry readings. She is a Gardener of the Soul.
Carol’s artistic inclination combines her ability to transform emotion into word and object through her own curiosity, love of nature and life experience. The common thread, both in the approach and work itself, directs her mystical life journey. She exhibits across North America and appreciates an international collector base.
MY CREATIVE PROCESS
The intertwining dance - of nature, vessel, and the spiritual realms - continues to prevail in my work. Qualities of the ancient vessel form mirror my essence of living and creating. The circular form is powerful in its representation of the never-ending journey of eternity. The feminine vessel energies illuminate a willingness to receive (remaining open), a penchant to nourish (embrace and enrich), and the intention to renew the cycle through sharing (pouring forth and giving birth). The endlessly inspiring vessel qualities, coupled with my deep appreciation for the immense wisdom and beauty of nature, continue to be fertile seeds for the Tree of Life Series. Alluring and beautifully hued wildflowers of the Nature Series expand the body of work with a captivating and distinctively brilliant palette. Organic and mystical, each of the vessels impart an ethereal quality.
Author Ted Andrews, in Animal-Speak, suggests: "Every flower blossoms with reminders to be creative, and every tree whispers with its rustling leaves the secrets of life." Trees and flowers, nature and all Her elements indeed seem to whisper to me incessantly as I sculpt and write. Their language is mystical and magical, apparent and elusive, evocative and reassuring. Seemingly common elements and threads weave themselves together through my hands and words into amazingly poignant and often cryptic expressions. Frequently, I am amazed when looking at a finished piece, as if to look over my shoulder and say, ‘Who did that?' I feel both humbled and honored knowing I was there, my hand following something much larger than myself. Again and again, I am blessed and inspired by the choir of guiding Voices throughout the process. The voices of the clay are the Voices of my inner guidance, holding a language I believe speaks to me and all of us at once. It is typically only after the vessel is completed that I am able to fully recognize and appreciate its full essence. The vessels evolve into treasures with a sensation of history and antiquity - rich in a tapestry of story and symbolism. Forms, creatures and numeric elements take on a sometimes cloaked or sometimes visible presence in my work, while continually weaving a mystical, symbolic thread.
Although I obtained a formal education, as an artist, I consider myself largely self-taught. Each piece has its own process of evolving and I find myself learning, growing, and evolving in large and small ways along with each one.
Typically the smaller vessels are created as I hand-build a form in water-based clay, using slab and coiling techniques. I then refine the surfaces using a repertoire of tools often including a rice paddle, metal ribs and various stones. Always, I smooth and massage the interior with a slice of coconut shell, now worn to an intimately, silken surface. It is during this process of turning, scraping, and smoothing that I sit attentively listening to the vessel for guidance on its intentions - its voice. If I begin with an idea, I attempt to hold it most loosely, so as not to miss the opportunity to hear a deeper Wisdom. With the surface prepared, and having received a sense of the forms' intention, I begin sketching on the surface with a small needle tool. With sketching complete, I use a subtractive sculpting method: removing all the clay that will not contribute to the finished form. Concentrated attention is given to the balance and rhythm of light as it will flow through the vessel openings - the light, and its reflections, being a powerful Presence within each vessel. A final refining of the surface and cutout areas follows before allowing the piece to slowly dry before it is fired in a kiln or molded. Certain vessels, including all larger vessels, are created in an oil based clay and/or wax. While these most often require armature, the process is quite similar with three major exceptions: the clay is never fired, the negative spaces created by the cut-outs must be visualized rather than actually "cut through" and a combination of additive and subtractive sculpting techniques are used.
With the original vessel complete, the second lengthy process of lost-wax casting begins. The intricate cutouts and open interior surface demand a highly labor-intensive casting process. Each cutout area must be re-cut in each individual wax form, and then cleaned to a smooth and even surface. Unlike sculpture with an exterior surface alone, the open vessel form requires delicate attention to the surfaces on the interior, exterior and (because of the cut-out areas) often hundreds of spaces in between. Many, many talented hands (those whom I refer to as the wonderful "ghost artists") work with the pieces as they move through the precise stages at the foundry, insuring the highest level of craftsmanship in each step of the process. Unable to be physically present for each unique piece in each stage of the precise process, I work closely with these artisans, providing the necessary guidance to fulfill my visual and quality standards for each piece. A foundry proof (FP) is created, as the model/prototype, to assist the various artisans. Careful and repeated inspections are performed throughout the process prior to each piece receiving final approvals.
I remain immensely involved in the intricate patina and finishing processes. The final cast works receive a patina (chemicals most often applied hot, which oxidize the copper in the bronze and create color). These chemicals, in my work, are carefully applied in many layers to the cast bronze, helping to create my signature look of a multi-palette, organic (and often arboreal) patina with an old world luster and alluring detail. Though there are truly only three main water soluble chemicals in the art of patination, hundreds of variations are possible through application techniques, temperature, surface preparation, use of dyes, pigments and finishing choices. Maintaining even heating conditions with the often hundreds of cut-outs (in sharp contrast to the solid base) is a unique challenge. Dyes and/or pigments, at times, are added to enhance the tonal values without compromising the stability of the patina. Each piece is well sealed and protected with a lacquer and/or wax finish. My steadfast goal is museum quality work that is both evocative and inspiring. My commitment to achieving that goal is rewarded by the growing laudatory response of my collectors. I believe the work speaks with a deeply authentic voice: its initial capture is through the alluring visual qualities while simultaneously igniting a much deeper, soulful resonance. I feel both blessed and honored to share my creative visions while humbled by the gracious support and encouragement I continue to receive.
Companion writing accompanies most of my work. Once I have named the essence of the vessels' intention, I engage in lengthy research regarding the elements and images to be included. The writing unfolds gradually throughout the process. This prose is offered as a seed to ignite one's own contemplation while sharing the symbolic interpretation regarding the significance of the piece, to me, as it was born. It is my hope that the work will speak in many languages, changing from season to season in one's own life journey. I believe my writings to be messengers reaching far beyond the seed I receive while creating them.
Each piece is authored with a mark resembling a very broad, cursive "Z", found beside my signature. This mark is an expression of the Spirit (Wind) always moving within and around us. It is my way of remembering and acknowledging I never create alone - perhaps more accurately, my mark of gratitude.
The ancient, organic vessel form has become my signature canvas. I welcome other forms, dimensions and presentations as they arise in their season and enrich my ground of creative exploration. Intricately developed, multi-colored patinas continue to both challenge and entice me as I explore and expand the limits of traditional patina in my major body of bronze sculpture.
Forms, creatures and numeric elements take on a sometimes cloaked and sometimes visible presence in my work weaving a mystical, symbolic thread. I am continuously inspired by the incessant, mystical voice of nature and the human spirit in all its colors. Coupled with the profoundly feminine qualities of the vessel form, nature enkindles me to give voice to the darker corners of the heart while igniting a glowing ray of hope and solidarity. Unceasingly, I hope to be an ever growing gardener of the soul through my intertwining visual and written expressions.
Born in rural Pennsylvania, Carol Alleman obtained her degree in Art Education from the Pennsylvania State University (PA/USA) and continued graduate studies at the Lancaster Theological Seminary (PA/USA). Most recently, she has completed studies with various contemporary artists at the Scottsdale Artist School, Scottsdale, Arizona.
- 2015 Gilcrease Museum Collectors' Reserve Exhibition
- 2015 Tucson Desert Art Museum, AZ
- 2015 Tempe Center for the Arts 'Green and Gray' Exhibition, Arizona
- 2014 Master and Signature American Women Artist Exhibit, Queensbury, NY
- 2014 Legacy Juried Exhibit, North Easton, MA
- 2014 Four Points Bi-Annual Exhibit, Alief, TX
- 2014 Booth Western Art Museum, GA
- 2014 Cornell Museum of Art
- 2012 NOW WOW Project II, National Juried Exhibition, Toledo, OH
- 2012 Women's Works Exhibit, Woodstock, IL
- 2012 Artists for Conservation Exhibit, Vancouver, BC, Canada
- 2012 American Women Artists Show, Tubac, AZ
- 2011-12 Annual Spring Gala, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC
- 2011 20th Annual International Miniature Show, Nags Head, NC
- 2011 Sacred Messages, Herberger Theater Center, Phoenix AZ2010 Art for Heart, Appalachian Service Project Fundraiser, Grandview United Methodist Church, Lancaster PA
- 2011 Stickley Museum, Trunk Show
- 2010 Feast for the Beasts!, Tucson Zoological Society, Tucson AZ
- 2010 Jerome Beillard Festival for Life, Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF), Tucson AZ
- 2010 Carol Alleman and Maurice Sevigny, Two-Person Exhibition, Northern Trust, Tucson AZ
- 2009 Art for Heart, Appalachian Service Project Fundraiser, Grandview United Methodist Church, Lancaster, PA
- 2009 6th Annual Flavors of Tucson, Desert Southwest American Liver Foundation, Tucson AZ
- 2009 Gravity Exhibit, Herberger Theater Center, Scottsdale, AZ
- 2009 Singularity Exhibit, Herberger Theater Center, Scottsdale, AZ
- 2008 Art for Heart, Appalachian Service Project Fundraiser, Grandview United Methodist Church, Lancaster PA
- 2008 Jerome Beillard Festival for Life, Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF), Tucson, AZ
- 2008 Tucso Children's Museum (TCM) Family Fun Brunch Silent Auction, Tucson, AZ
- 2008 Ongoing Exhibition, Arizona Cancer Center Clinic, University Medical Center, Tucson AZ
- 2008 Sculpture Walk 2008, Sioux Falls, SD
- 2008 Garden of the Soul Group Exhibit, Herberger Theater Center, Scottsdale, AZ
- 2007 American Women Artists 2007 National Juried Competition, Scottsdale, AZ
- 2007 Invited Artist, Sculpture in the Park 2007, Loveland High Plains Art Council, Loveland CO
- 2007 Idea House, Phoenix Home and Garden 2007 Idea House, Talking Rock, AZ
- 2007 16th International Miniature Show, Nags Head, NC
- 2006 10th Annual Sacred Art Exhibit, Pittsburgh, PA
- 2006 Invited Artist, Sculpture in the Park 2006, Loveland, CO
- 2006 15th International Miniature Show, Nags Head, NC
- 2005 Invited Artist, Sculpture in the Park 2005, Loveland, CO
- 2005 Greater Midwest International Exhibit XX, CMSU, MO
- 2004 "Director's Choice" Artspace, Coral Gables, Florida
- 2004 Group Show, New Masters, Carmel, CA
- 2003, '04 Loveland High Plains Art Council, Sculpture in the Park, Loveland, CO
- 2003 Contemporary Works of Faith, (Liturgical Art Guild) Columbus, OH
- 2002 American Women Artists, Santa Fe, NM
- 2002 St. John's International School, Brussels, Belgium
- 1999 Shemer Museum of Art, Phoenix, AZ
- 1998, '97, '96 Tubac Center for the Arts, Tubac, AZ
- 1998 Tucson-Pima Arts Council, Tucson, AZ
- 2011 Private Commission, Celestial Joy
- 2010 Private Commission, Voice of Wisdom
- 2007 Private Commission, Ginkgo: Seed of Hope (pair)
- 2004 Montage Resort & Spa Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach, CA, Infinity (pair)
- 2003 Laguna Beach, CA, Transitions II
AWARDS AND PUBLICATIONS
- 2016 Groover Studio Award for "Mighty Oak", Jacksonville University Museum, AL
- 2016 Nature Inspired, Spring 2016 Edition, Softcover Book ("Trillium" and "Garden of Promises" featured with companion writing)
- 2015 First Place Award in Sculpture for "Twilight Stars", Gilcrease Museum, Collector's Reserve, Williams
- 2012-2015 Artists for Conservation Hardcover Book, Juried Artist
- 2014 American Women Artists Bronze Award, Signature and Signature Masters Show for “Seeds of Harmony”
- 2014 Western Art & Architecture; feature article
- 2014 Honorable Mention, Four Points Bi-Annual Contemporary Exhibit, “Seeds of Harmony”
- 2014 Honorable Mention, Legacy Juried Exhibit “Mighty Oak”
- 2014 Merit Awards at the Four Points Bi-Annual Exhibit for both “Celestial Joy” and “Illusion of Complexity”
- 2014 "Seeds of Harmony" featured in Western Art and Architecture feature article
- 2013 First Place Award in 3D for "Seeds of Harmony"ok she will con, Art League of Hilton Head
- 2013 Award of Merit for "Remembering Gratitude", American Women Artists Master Signature Juried Exhibition
- 2013 Award of Excellence for "Womb of Life", Manhattan Arts International
- 2013 and 2011 Arabella Magazine (Canadian); Fabulous Finds Feature Article
- 2012 Best Sculpture Done in a Realistic and Academic Manner for "In Vino Veritas I", American Women Artists National Juried Exhibit, Tubac, AZ
- 2012 Merit Award, NOW WOW Project II, National Juried Exhibition, Toledo, OH
- 2012 Gallery Choice Award, Women's Works Exhibit, Woodstock, IL
- 2012 First Place for "Trillium", International Miniature Exhibit, Nags Head, NC
- 2012 Wildscape Magazine; Featured Artist
- 2011 Luxe Design + Interiors Magazine; Feature Article
- 2007 A Montage of Masterworks
- 2007 Phoenix Home and Garden, IDEA House Publication
- 2006 Southwest Art, December issue, "Vases and Vessels" and "Start Your Collection"
- 2006 Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine, November Issue, Guest Artist Feature Article
- 2006 Celebrating Thirty Years
- 2005 Southwest Art, Artists to Watch
- 2005 Industry Award for "Illusions of Complexity", Sculptural Pursuit Annual Competition
- 2005 Art Calendar - Magazine Cover image "Finding Courage"
- 2005 Ministry & Liturgy Magazine - feature BENE Award article
- 2004 BENE Award for "Illusions of Complexity" and "Montage Abundance", Ministry & Liturgy Annual Visual Arts Award, San Jose, CA
- 2004 "Might Oak" presented to Noble Peace Prize recipient, Wangari Maathai
LECTURES AND READINGS
- 2009 Private Collection Viewing and Intimate Talk, McLean VA
- 2009 Lecture and Exhibition, Bottoms Art Galleries presents Bella Arta Events, Santa Barbara, CA
- 2007 Artist Talk and Prose Reading, Jackson Hole, WY
Return to Sculptures by Carol Alleman