Foreign jade carving works are integrated with their culture. Artists use more jade materials in the creation process, which means that their works pay more attention to artistic expression, so their creation is more unique and free. Compared with the history of Chinese jade culture, the soil of foreign jade culture is quite poor. In the past 50 years, some sculptors began to be interested in jade carving art. This group of artists are mainly distributed in foreign jade producing areas, such as Canada, the United States, New Zealand and other places. Mainly, its jade carving art style has its own characteristics, forming a unique landscape in the international carving art world.
Jade carving art abroad
The history of Canadian jade carving culture is not long, but it develops extremely fast. In order to reflect the vitality, most of Canadian jade carvings are dynamic, and the postures of creatures are mainly dynamic. For example, the climbing and climbing of auspicious beasts, the gliding, diving, circling, and flying of birds, and the swimming and leaping of marine fish.
In the selection of themes, the images of animals unique to the Arctic circle such as polar bears, seals, and fur seals are the main ones. In order to reflect the enthusiasm and boldness of the local people, the carving techniques of the jade carvings are also exaggerated, the lines are rough and not fine enough, and the overall is somewhat similar to Western sculptures.
The United States is an immigrant country, so many jade carvings also incorporate cultural elements from countries around the world, and their styles vary greatly. Most of the jade carvings in the United States embody the concept of harmonious coexistence between man and nature, so we can see many jade carvings with animal themes. American jade sculptures do not have to choose auspicious animals like China. Artists choose their favorite subjects more.
We can often see an American girl wearing a snake-like jade ornament with a long tongue, which is rare in China.
Maori are the aboriginals of New Zealand. Many Maori can be seen in the jade carvings of New Zealand.
Because of its relatively high hardness, jadeite was once used as a war tool by the Maori. Later, people figured out a set of polishing methods before they began to make earrings and other jewelry. Generally speaking, New Zealand jade carvings are the most similar to Chinese jade carvings, with fine workmanship and smooth lines, and the style is quite ancient.
The irreplaceable “Stone of Heaven”
George Schmerholz is an American sculpture artist born in Romania. With a multi-ethnic ancestry, he experienced a lot of great joys and sadness when he was young. He moved from Romania to Italy, Switzerland, Canada and other places, and was active in the art circle as a sculpture and photography artist. He finally settled in California in 2001, and since then he has lived in seclusion as an artist.
The acquaintance with George Schmerholz was at a small gathering and dinner sponsored and sponsored by the author himself. This gathering brought together more than a dozen jade carving artists from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and other countries. During the banquet, everyone had rich exchanges at all levels, and among them, George was particularly impressed by the author. He is humble and gentle, and he can occasionally feel the free and easy of a hermit and the thinking of a philosopher in his words, even with a bit of Zen. Of course, these qualities are also fully reflected in his jade carving works.
George started his sculpture career as early as 1975. After 10 years of hard work and practice, he officially became a professional sculpture artist. In the early days, he mainly used various types of wood as raw materials, but soon turned his goal to soft stone materials such as marble and granite, and also used copper as a raw material for his creations.
So at a certain level, after you can easily control these relatively soft traditional materials, it is a natural trend to try to use harder and more complex materials, and it is also the only way to challenge yourself. By chance, thanks to the success of the previous large-scale granite sculpture, he got an opportunity to use jade to create a large-scale statue, and thus began the road of jade carving…
Compared with the Chinese people’s understanding of jade and jade, Westerners’ understanding of it is relatively simple and straightforward. When the author asked why he chose jade, especially nephrite, he gave a detailed account of his relationship with jade.
“The Prophet”, the material is Canadian jasper and bronze.
“Baby”, made of Siberian nephrite and bronze.
Necklace “Young Dragon”, made of Canadian jasper.
The first time he dealt with jade was through a commission, when he was commissioned to sculpt a 2.2-meter-high Guanyin statue for a temple in the suburbs of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. He gladly accepted this commission and regarded it as a challenge to his own skills, carefully prepared and elaborated. Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen factors, this commission was not completed as expected. In the 12 years since then, he has never touched jade carving again. After 2012, through continuous training in artistic creation and technical techniques, he once again met with jade and decided to stay with these beautiful and mysterious stones for the rest of his life.
“In contemporary art, many things can be regarded as’sculpture works. But in my understanding,’sculpture art is a process of subtraction, that is,’carving.'” George said that for a sculpture artist, jade is a material. It can be called the ultimate challenge, and challenging himself and surpassing the limit is his lifelong goal. He first came into contact with nephrite jade, and now he also makes jadeite (jade) artwork. But the position of nephrite in his heart is always irreplaceable, and this “stone of heaven” is always his favorite. Its quality and characteristics are irreplaceable by any other sculptural material. Coupled with ingenious design and craftsmanship, each piece of jade is a unique blessing bestowed by God to mankind.
Sharpen one’s tools and do good things
“In the Western art circle, artists are labeled with various labels, and people will subjectively expect that they will become famous with a certain form of artistic style. But I think this concept has very strong limitations. Sex.” George said.
His artistic creation is not suitable for this so-called “style” mode, because as a means of expression, his creative content ranges from geometric patterns to wild animals, from figurative techniques to abstract freehand brushwork, and the types are extremely diverse. It is precisely because of this that his creative inspiration is inexhaustible, and even the most ordinary things in life can be created. Source. But the reason why a work can become art is because it transcends the beauty of the original reference object. As the saying goes, art comes from life and is higher than life.
In order to fully express his artistic concept and design inspiration, handy tools and mature and advanced technical means are indispensable. As early as the popularity of synthetic diamond technology and corresponding tools, he began to try to use this new technology to create granite sculptures. In order to make creation more convenient, it is also a challenge to invent and create some necessary tools by yourself. Before the commercialization of hand-held electric and pneumatic tools, he built many handy equipment by himself to help him adapt to the unique sculptural material of jade. To this day, he will still use his 30 years of experience in carving different stones to improve and create a variety of tools suitable for his craft style to meet more complex design needs.
“Chinese culture is the oldest uninterrupted civilization in the world today. In the course of several thousand years of history, profound civilizations and traditions have been developed around jade and jade culture. Even contemporary jade carving artists will combine traditions and incorporate many Historical elements. In contrast, most areas of the Western world do not have such a profound jade culture and civilization history. Jade is also a relatively new material for us. But because of this, we did not have such a deep jade culture and civilization Limitations, you can freely attach any observation to the jade carving art.” George described his understanding of the difference between Chinese and Western jade carving art.
To this end, he cited examples to illustrate his point of view. When designing jade carvings, he will use a variety of materials with different characteristics as auxiliary and decoration. This characteristic has even become his unique artistic style to a certain extent. On the one hand, doing so can make the work more distinctive, unique, and more challenging in design and production, but there are some more important reasons.
“After many years of exploration and practice, I found that my understanding of sculpture materials itself is not only limited to their physical level, but gradually began to feel the energy field and frame rate characteristics contained in them.” George further explained that when As the production progresses, when a sculpture gradually changes its shape from its original original material state, he seems to be able to feel a kind of resonance or aura. When the resonance or aura emitted by the material itself resonates harmoniously with the visual effect presented after the final formation of the work, a work is considered a real accomplishment. What is interesting is that contemporary natural science has successfully assumed a fact through quantum physics, that is, everything in the world is composed of energy, vibration and frequency, which coincides with his feelings.
“Therefore, combining bronze and jade to create is like combining two different forms of energy and frame rate, just like two different sounds in two kinds of music. This is extremely challenging, and the joy of success can make I am very excited. Combining a variety of different materials, colors and surface textures will allow me to bring a more profound and rich viewing experience to the viewers of the works.” George expressed his feelings with a little excitement.
Pilgrimage of “Jade Carving Heaven”
In September 2014, George was invited to participate in the “Zigang Cup” jade carving contest held in Suzhou. This “Zigang Cup” is the first industry competition to introduce foreign jade carving artists and works in my country, and it is quite interesting. More than a dozen jade carving artists from many countries all over the world participated in the exhibition with their works.
In 2014, George came to China for the first time. Due to the tight schedule, he only visited and stayed in Suzhou and surrounding areas. In just 8 days, he left a very beautiful and deep impression on George.
On the way to China, George still couldn’t believe all this. “I’m going to China to exhibit! For a jade carving artist, it is sacred and honorable to be able to come to China to participate in the exhibition and be invited to participate in a top-level event such as the’Zigang Cup. It can bring me and Chinese masters on the same stage. Exhibiting with their wonderful works, apart from making me feel flattered, it is also an opportunity for inspiration and learning skills.”
The several works that George carried in this exhibition contained a variety of different elements, including his various creative styles. Including a geometric combination style work, a small historical celebrity statue, a wildlife sculpture, and a combination of bronze and jade, quite “philosophical” abstract style work.
“Challenging the most perfect self, whether as an art or at the technical level, to be more refined is my life’s unchanging goal.” George clearly expressed his future plans and goals. Through the exchanges with the Chinese jade carving industry, he not only developed a lot of new ideas, but also learned a lot of experience and technology. Especially when he saw some dreamlike Chinese jade sculptures in the exhibition, he instantly raised his aesthetic standards for jade sculptures to a new height.
“I can still do better than I am now, but it takes time and a lot of time to break through to a new level. Drawing on and learning from different artistic styles and technical methods will help me improve my personal ability and ultimately His own artistic style is further refined to perfection.” George said modestly.
In view of the difficulties encountered by many artists in the commercial field, the author also asked George about the current situation. George has been active in the art circle as a professional sculpture artist since the 1980s, and has accumulated a large client base during his years of creation, especially in North America. His works have been exhibited in many galleries, expositions and private commercial exhibitions, and he also undertakes sculpture ordering and private ordering business on weekdays. Generally speaking, although the North American market is not as vigorous as the Chinese market, it is also developing rapidly.
Towards the end of the interview, when the author asked him what else he would like to say to Chinese readers, he expressed his expectations like this: “People’s aesthetic orientation is largely influenced by the growth environment and local culture. I hope my works , And even the works of Western jade carving artists can be examined objectively and neutrally, respecting the consciousness, culture and expression they carry. Just as the uniqueness of Chinese jade carving art cannot be copied, Western jade carving art also contains unique ideas and hope to obtain The understanding and recognition of the world.”