American painter and photographer Chuck Close once said that “sculpture occupies real space like we do… you walk around it and relate to it almost as another person or another object.” Sandee Spahr’s sculptures, featured in our Vivify exhibit, capture that spatial relationship with a playfulness and warmth lost on many modern pieces today.
Working with stone, bronze and Apoxie, Spahr wields the materials to create a realism in her work that draws an immediate emotional reaction from the viewer. Whether it is a napping sea otter carved from a solid piece of alabaster, or a detailed depiction of a woman in the tranquility of a yoga pose, the sculptures scream a deep connection with the world around them, a representation of nature and the sensory experience that comes with it.
Over the course of her tenured career as an art teacher for the Stratford School district, the Pennsylvania native (now residing in Guilford, CT) broadened her artistic learning by studying stone sculpture with Sara Aldouby, wood sculpture with Toshio Odate, fiber sculpture at the Brookfield (Conn.) Craft Center, and Apoxie sculpture with Marc-Anthony Massaro. She went on to her earn her Master’s and Sixth-Year degrees in Art from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. While her bronze works are completed in limited editions, all of Spahr’s stone and Apoxie sculptures are original and unique.
The breadth of Spahr’s collection adds another layer of interest and appreciation. In the midst of these finely detailed bronze and Apoxie pieces, she peppers in these faceless, yet boldly responsive alabaster works like “Lounging Lady,” “Lady with Attitude,” and “Together.” It is in these faceless representations that one is able to feel the emotional pulse of the work rather than just witnessing it.
In a time where Postmodern, abstract sculptures fill gallery and museum space, it is refreshing to see work that participates in the impishness of the natural world while drawing on our human necessity for emotional and spatial connectivity.
Sandee Spahr’s sculptures and paintings are part of our “Vivify” exhibit, featuring six local artists and two based out of China. All pieces are available for purchase and will be showcased through July 10, 2014.