Art: Long-distance hiking to the atelier

(October 2011) Artists purport that the provenance of a sculpture is imbedded in the raw block – the artist must merely chisel away the superfluous crust. The pretension has been attributed to no lesser than Michelangelo.

American Marc Carroll is in contrast remarkably sober. It starts with his desire to merely give his onyx sculptures a platform „The beauty of the stone from Arizona itself tends to become the subject matter, and form is secondary“. His sobriety continues in the fact that he is enthusiastic about mathematics „I like the perfection of geometric forms“ all the way to the clients’ venue in the case of contracted sculptures where the artist delivers and gives helpful tips for installation and maintenance.

Carroll’s parents were also artists, his father sculpting figures for the Church and his mother painting landscapes. He studied art and acting while working as a freelance artist on the side. Another step on Carroll’s career ladder was his work for the museum of science where he reconstructed a pre-historic Archaeopteryx using fossil fragments. He also worked in the toy industry crafting and designing models.

Carroll’s artistic development was influenced by two long-distance hikes along the Appalachian Trail which joins the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains through 14 States from Maine to Georgia on East Coast USA. So-called „thru-hikers“ negotiate the 3,500 km Trail in one stretch in about 5 month – as did Carroll.

The experience influenced his perspective of forms and material, he says. If one observes how nature handles wind water and stone, one gains insight into how art should be processed.

He later moved to Arizona where he established his sculpting atelier and can look back on some 30 years of work as an art teacher.

Even though he is free of dogma he never the less perches that an artist should remain „true to material“ to freely quote Henry Moore. „Keep stone looking like stone, with all its unique characteristics“, he writes.

The Sculpture Studio

Appalachian Trail

Photos: The Sculpture Studio