Biological art metal


Biological art metal

Biological art metal is a name given to a new movement in the art metal field whereby biological forms serve as the artist's models. An emphasis is placed on exactly replicating nature as is the case, for example, in scientific illustration. Biological art metal may be used as sculpture, decorative objects, jewelry or housewares. Both botanical or zoological forms or a mixture of the two may serve as the artist's subject.

Methods

Although, many metal art techniques may be used, biological art metal is generally rendered through advanced casting processes, in particular lost wax casting processes. Cast waxes are taken from multi-part molds made from tin or platinum catalyzed silicone. The waxes are then invested in a plaster-like substance and then "burned out" at high temperatures leaving a negative space. The negative space is subsequently filled with molten metal. Vacuum, gravity or centrifugal casting may be employed. Metals are usually limited to gold, silver and bronze although stainless steel and cobalt chrome have been used. A high level of skill is needed in the preparation of molds and waxes in order to render sharp details.

Many metal artists forgo the mold and wax making steps and directly cast biological materials, but the resulting products are limited to those with burn-out characteristics similar to casting wax. For direct burn-out, favorite subjects are wooden specimens and soft insects (such as spiders) which burn out cleanly. Calcareous materials, such as hard-shell insect carapaces, sea shells, rocks, gar skins and crustaceans don't generally lend themselves to direct casting.

Origins

Biological art metal might be considered a modern elaboration on the Art Nouveau movement in jewelry design and art. In her authoritative 1985 work on the subject, "Art Nouveau Jewelry", Vivienne Becker details the influence of nature on art nouveau jewelers such as Vever Aucoc, Lalique, Wolfers and Falize. Art nouveau jewelry designers (in France especially) were enormously influenced by art imported from Japan by Samuel Bing and nature was an important theme in the japonisme. Bing writes,

"The Japanese artist ...is convinced that nature contains the primordial elements of all things, and ...nothing exists in creation, be it only a blade of grass, that is not worthy of a place in the loftiest conceptions of Art." (Becker, 1985).
In many ways, thus, the biological art metal movement represents a revival of the art nouveau in jewelry and metalwares.

References

External links

* [http://www.eliasbing.com/index.html Examples of Biological Art Metal]


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