Barbara Chen - 6249 Bytes This series of sculpture is an exploration on many levels. Besides portraying large, joyful, graceful, women, I am exploring the language of sculpture: form and volume. On this more abstract level, I am exploring the emotional and aesthetic effects of form and volume in sculpture.

I am naturally attracted to round, organic, curving, flowing forms. I am fascinated by the almost magnetic effect of the creases which are formed when round forms meet—the human eye is naturally drawn into these crevices. I enjoy working in these forms because I find them inherently warm, beautiful shapes, pleasing and inviting to both the eye and to the touch, sensual, interesting and intriguing. My sense of round form is the strongest common element throughout all my work, whether abstract or representational.

Adding an abundance of fat to my figures appeals to my basic attraction to roundness, and makes fat my fundamental medium of expression. Because fat naturally can be distributed on the human body in an infinite variety of proportions, with enormous variation between individuals, I feel free to sculpt the figure to appeal to my personal sense of form. I work without models, so that I am free from the constraints of physical reality.

When I develop these sculptures, I work not only with the human figure as a whole, but with the several discrete shapes which comprise the figures. I work with each body part as a separate abstract shape which even standing alone has movement of line, fullness, sensuality and interest. I mentally divide the body into several parts, such as upper and lower body, and then further subdivide each section into smaller sub-units. I play with arranging these shapes, or body parts, in various relations to each other into a rhythmic and harmonious whole so that they relate to and contrast with each other in position, movement, and weight. The transitions between these shapes or parts are sometimes smooth and imperceptible, and sometimes abrupt. I use the harmony and rhythm of these transitions to make these round, appealing shapes dance with each other, just as they make the entire figure dance as a whole.

My presentation of fat itself is meant to be neither positive nor negative. Fat is merely a means to my end of expressing the ability of round, organic, curving, flowing, interacting forms to invite us, intrigue us, and bring us warm and pleasing emotions on a very basic and visceral level. The joyous poses and facial expressions I choose are an extension of this intent. My ladies are joyous not because they are fat, but because their forms are so inherently wonderful and beautiful.

Barbara Chen

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©2000 Barbara Chen. All rights reserved. Last update on 2/4/2000.