The bronze sculptures of Emma Rodgers are deceptive. Three of them are currently on display in Stricoff Gallery, located at 564 West 25th Street in Manhattan. For one thing, they seem lighter than bronze. And for another, the textures are very unbronze-like; in some places rough and coarse like the bark of a tree while appearing lighter than that, almost as fragile as paper or cardboard. Michel Vandenplas of Stricoff explained that this deception is intentional.
In one sculpture, Icarus is poised for action, but unlike Michelangelo's David, who is preparing to take action as well, the face is hidden and subordinate to the gesture of the pose. Whereas David is in a state of contemplation, Icarus braces himself, legs bent so far he is almost sitting on the rear of his feet, with his arms flung back, ready to defy gravity and soar toward the sun. David's action has yet to begin; Icarus has begun the preliminary movement down, in the opposite direction, which is needed to create greater force going up.
Ms. Rodgers chooses to minimize the right wing, but the left wing, or the symbol of one, is poised to glide through the air. The figure measures less than two hands high from top to bottom, but is perched upon a long, thin, rectangular stand that lifts the figure to chest level. The viewer is still looking at this sculpture from above, however.
The sculpture to its left, also of Icarus, is perched on an identical stand, and shows the continuation of the motion suggested by its predecessor. Now Icarus is long with only the left leg touching ground.
The left leg looks as if it is made from a thick wooden pencil, more brownish in color than the rest of the figure, which looks very much like clay, but is bronze as well.
These sculptures have a little of Rodin in them, even though, with Rodin, we are more aware of how hard and unyielding his materials are.
Manhattan Skydancer, also from 2010, also made of bronze, has a wooden quality to it as well. Much larger than the other two pieces, it stands well over 6 feet tall. The holes throughout the figure reveal that this sculpture is hollow. The pose is almost a larger mirror image of the previous work and looks like plastilene clay as well as wood. The head is thrust backward, as are the arms. It may be viewed from different angles, but is most interesting from the front. With abstract sculpture, the negative shapes created by the artist encourage the viewer to walk around it, at which point, the sculpture moves into time, the fourth dimension, and is no longer motionless on its stand. The holes that Ms. Rodgers creates in this piece leans to this response and tempts the viewer to experience a similar movement of form, which creates an interesting complement to the more obvious gesture of the figure.
For more information, please contact Stricoff at 212-219-3977 or visit the website www.stricoff.com.