In the art of sculpting, not a day or a period goes by without a search for new definitions of form, both in movement and in space. We say movement, because the nature of inanimate sculpture is that it moves, along with the eye of the observer. In classical sculpture, in works of stone, wood, bronze and ceramics, the three dimensionality was simply created, as in nature. But with modern sculpture, there have been revolutions, and turnabouts.
Dan Zaretsky studied sculpture with Rudy Lehman. As a sculptor, Zaretsky learned bronze casting which helped him in the field of his art. He learned to take advantage of the lesser known possibilities inherent in bronze sculpture; here, Zaretsky has unique accomplishments.
Zaretsky is a figurative sculptor who has a private language. It seems to me that his private language is drawn from ancient Assyrian sculpture, which was mainly the art of relief. Zaretsky creates sculptures in bronze that are extremely thin-but they are, nonetheless, very, very three dimensional. Here, there is a mutual understanding between the art of sculpture, and the art of relief. In bas-relief, figures are sculpted on a tablet of stone, wood, or other material, and the figures cast shadows and create the illusion of three dimensions. In haut-relief, perspective is also created. What Zaretsky accomplishes, and in my opinion he is the first to do so, at least for us here, is to create a sculpture that is so very thin that it is a deep relief, on both its sides.
The descriptive lines of the bull are both wild and beautiful, a kind of homage to the ancient caveman, but each and every muscle, each of the internal movements within the whole, are three dimensional. One must never place a Zaretsky sculpture up against the wall; the sculpture must be placed in such a way so that the observer can walk around it. Only then will the observer come to realize that the far side is not simply a mirror image of the near side; only then does the non-symmetry become clear-the left leg isn't just the opposite, or mirror of the right leg, but rather a separate entity, something independent.
What makes Zaretsky unique is that he creates a three dimensional sketch, in bronze. The bronze monkey is three dimensional, even though it is a sketch. Just imagine a pencil drawing that the artist cuts out with scissors, and then bends into a shape with several surfaces. The result is a three dimensional sketch.
Sculpture is a three dimensional art form. Zaretsky has found new ways to express three dimensionality. There are his sculptures of animals and humans, formed from thin bronze cylinders; when the bronze is bent a third dimension is created, even though, apparently, volume is non-existent. This is Zaretsky's response to the question: How many unorthodox ways are there to sculpt three dimensionally? In my opinion, Zaretsky's two different responses are totally unique, or at least they are not familiar to me from my acquaintance with the conventional forms of art sculpture.
Does Zaretsky's work follow in the footsteps of Pompon? Or in the path of Brancusi? Is Zaretsky in fact creating new forms, in his own unique way? To all three questions the answer would be, "Yes, this too."
Zaretsky's sculptures are built of a static stability, together with movement; the movement of the eye upon the material, and the movement of the material itself. The sculptures play in bronze and stone, they flow from the animal to the human, the human to the plant, the living to the inanimate, from the realistic to the abstract.
In the future, it would be no surprise to see Zaretsky's curiosity move him to make new discoveries, find new forms, and novel combinations.
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