River Studio Ribbon Cutting Ceremony!
On June 30th and July 1st the new River Studios were dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony. This marks the completion of the new studios where Andrew sculpts the clay models and also casts his bronze sculptures.
A crowd of friends, collectors and supporters gathered both days to witness the event and see the new studios which rose up from the ashes of the fire that destroyed the original studios in 2016. (see other post in What’s News) Andrew thanked everyone both there and those who could not attend, those who had both volunteered their physical labor and who sent in gifts of dollars that made the new studios possible.
Andrew’s wife and his longtime friend and collector Harold Rudin did the honors of cutting the ribbon. afterwards people entered the new building and Andrew answered questions while leading people through the bronze process. Music by Rosie Porter and Tommy LeBeau entertained a crowd in the modelling studio.
A wonderful article appeared in the Berkshire Eagle about the new studios which you can read here.
Andrew also sent a letter to the Editor of the Berkshire Eagle which was published Sunday July 8th which you can enjoy here:
Thank you to our community and The Berkshire Eagle
Nearly two years ago our bronze casting studio was destroyed by fire. The journey began with friends who collect our artwork sending us monetary donations, while others volunteered their physical hard labor to begin the large task of rebuilding. The Lenox Chamber of Commerce held a fundraiser at Ventfort Hall, who donated a night in their beautiful museum increasing the funds needed for the project. Donations came in from everywhere in many forms which provided not only the necessary monies but most importantly the inspiration to move forward.
We wish to thank The Berkshire Eagle, its business reporter Tony Drobrowolski and photographers Ben Garver, Gillian Jones and Stephanie Zollshan for covering the story through to its successful ending.
We also wish to thank the Town of Middlefield for their support in our efforts.
Art builds a community. The Berkshires has always been a place where artists of many different forms and diversity can thrive because of the community. Patricia and I wish to thank everyone in our community who has helped us in getting back on our own artistic path.
Sculptor Andrew DeVries and Patricia Purdy
Progress on the Echoes commission
Echoes Commission Progress
“When I take the clay into my hands, it’s like taking a deep breath, says Andrew, and as the figure becomes more complete I feel the expression of the original vision being brought to life.”
After so many months spent on rebuilding River Studio, Andrew is now steadily focused on enlarging the clay of Echoes, his bronze sculpture showing a male dancer suspended within a Mobius strip at the moment of his reaching for eternity. Commissioned by Richard Chorney, President and CEO of the Grove School for his home in Madison, Connecticut, this sculpture will be in an edition of only three, with Richard receiving the very first casting in the edition. This edition will be reaching a height of seven feet from the bottom to the top of its bronze Mobius curve. (See photo of original below). The original version of Echoes is in an edition of eight, with only four left in that edition.
The pantograph (the device shown in the picture above) was used to measure different points intended to be transferred from the original bronze maquette to the new sculpture. As you can see from the picture, the pantograph is still in use at this stage, with the ‘point up’ of the Echoes armature completed and the first layer of clay applied. Andrew has now begun modeling the figure itself, and as these progresses, he will use the pantograph less and less, relying more on his artistic vision to bring the work to life. The Mobius strip will be sculpted once the clay figure is completed. The sculpture will be the first work poured in bronze at the new casting studio and is scheduled to be completed and installed at Richard’s home in Madison during the summer of 2018.
Rebuilding River Studio!
This presentation documents the rebuilding of River Studio.
The journey, installation and unveiling of the 15 foot Other Side of Eden
This presentation shows the incredible transportation of both the fifteen foot tall Other Side of Eden from sculptor Andrew DeVries’ studio to the home of Tom and Mary Steffek Blaske in Ann Arbor, Michigan in September. 2017. The unveiling at their home took place on October 15th.
My deepest thanks to Tom and Mary for this commission – a work that took three years to complete and the work that first appeared in my mind’s vision some 37 years ago.
Also my thanks to Allen Williams of Chester Granite whose skills made the the transport and installation of the sculpture possible.
Most of all my gratitude to my wife Patricia Purdy whose belief in the artwork never fails.
Hello There is the hit of Open Studio!
Hello There, the most recent bronze relief was unveiled at Open Studio in August. In a matter of one week 9 of the edition (12) were sold! Andrew is currently sending the last 3 through the ceramic shell mold process and hopes to have at least one ready for the Holiday Reception to be held at DeVries Fine Art International in Lenox, MA on December 2nd.
The Colossal Other Side of Eden
It’s said a picture is worth a thousand words. The slide show gives just a small taste of all that has been involved in assembling and finishing the colossal Other Side of Eden.
This is the first work which appeared as that flash in my minds’ eye. It happened nearly four decades ago when I was sketching a dancer doing his grand jetes diagonally across the the studio. He crashed into the wall on the last one but I saw him go through the wall, or rather I saw this sculpture, complete and at this monumental size.
The work on this commission started in the autumn of 2014. My friend Glenn Campbell in West Rutland helped build the massive armature onto which the clay was modeled. That was transported down to my studio in two halves and assembled. The clay model was completed in the spring of 2015.
Then the rubber molds were made on the piece. Sectioned off into 54 separate parts by shims, several coats of rubber were applied with plaster back up molds. That process took 3 months.
Wax was then painted into the molds and those wax castings were gated and vented. Some of the wax castings needed to be cut into smaller sections as they became to heavy for me to lift in the ceramic shell room. I had installed hoists to lift the shells in and out of the slurry tank but by the sixth coat I could see that I would have trouble handling the ceramic shell molds. So in all there were 86 ceramic shell molds that were made.
Those molds were then dewaxed in the oven and then bronze was poured into them. This stage took five months. The shell molds would be removed the gates and vents cut off and then chased down. the sections that had been cut into smaller pieces were welded together and the surface chased to the original form.
The bronze sections then were assembled by welding both on the outside and inside. Those welds were then chased and finished. This stage though not quite complete has taken eight months of demanding concentration.
I expect that the work will be (hopefully) completed in a month. It has been hard to gauge the amount of time, it seems every step takes more time. The work will need to be lowered and the final top sections put on, then rolled out the doors and the last leg section welded on outside. The whole work must be sandblasted lightly to clean the surface before the patina is applied.
Once finished it will be transported to its home in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the garden of Eden of Tom and Mary Steffek Blaske.
Two new commissions!
Everyone asks “what’s next?” for Andrew after he completes the colossal Other Side of Eden, and now we can tell you! Two new commissions have come about in the past two months…
The first commission is for a larger version of Echoes, a work that never fails to capture everyone’s attention in the gallery. It has been commissioned at three-quarters life size by our enthusiastic and avid collector Richard Chorney. Richard is the visionary president of the Grove School in Madison CT. He first purchased the five foot Other Side of Eden for his school’s campus in 2012. Since that time he has also acquired one of the remaining sculptures in the edition of This Man Who Flies and Innocence.
Echoes was first conceived in Chicago. It came to Andrew as a vision in the morning after a day of sketching the Joffrey Ballet in class and rehearsal. Although inspired by dance the sculpture displays a sense of spiritual uplifting by suspending the figure on a Möbius strip.
The maquette (working model) for this new Echoes has now been cast in bronze and the pantograph will soon be put to use in pointing up the enlargement. The Möbius strip that suspends this figure will be over seven feet tall!
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Commission
The second commission is for the Byham Dance Center in Pittsburgh, the home of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Some of you will remember the article from last year when Andrew installed Nocturne there. The goal has always been to have a new work which will epitomize the company’s vision of the ballet.
In May, Artistic Director Terrence Orr of PBT and Marianna Tcherkassy (Ballet Mistress of PBT and Terry’s wife) traveled to the studio along with Hannah Carter, a principle dancer from the company. Hannah modeled for the anatomical drawings which will be used in creating the sculpture (it will also be a three-quarter life size). The maquette armature is in process as of this writing, and once the maquette is completed and cast in bronze the pantograph will again be employed to point up the enlargement.
Aurora and Hallelujah dance pastels for 2017
Two new pastels, Aurora (top) and Hallelujah (bottom) created from sketches in dance studios are on their way to to Museum Facsimiles for framing.
The fire at River Studio on November 23rd, 2016
Gifts, Grants and GoFundme
These 3 “G”s represent the generosity of so many patrons, friends, family and the community at large who have joined together in the efforts to raise a new River Studio out of the ashes from the tragic fire that destroyed Andrew’s casting studio. To date a total of 85% of the estimated construction costs have been collected. A giant leap forward was made through the efforts of the Lenox Chamber of Commerce benefit that took place on March 3rd at Ventfort Hall. Envelopes containing checks in every amount continue to arrive in the mail as well as the contributions online through the GoFundMe Rebuild River Studio campaign.
We are grateful for each gift we receive. You have all touched our hearts and that kindness fills us with inspiration and the courage to forge ahead! says Andrew.
Measurements and sketches have been given to our friend Bill Kelly of Meadowwoods Pedestals who will draw up the plans needed for the permitting process. Once spring finally arrives in the Berkshires and warmer temperatures prevail, cleanup of the site will begin. The goal is to have the shell of the building up by next winter so that interior work can be done during the colder months and casting can begin again by spring of 2018.