Los Angeles

Emile Norman

Adele Bednarz Gallery

This exhibition marks the gallery’s formal opening. Norman, who lives in Big Sur, also maintains a studio in Italy near the quarries of Carrara and the foundries of Florence. Periodically he returns to Japan and the new year will find him on safari in Africa sketching the animals and birds which are his favorite subject matter. Self-taught, Norman works in wood, stone, bronze and endomosaics with equal skill. Four Seasons, an innovation of cast bronze, a disk encircled with a separate casting representing the sun’s rays, is mounted on a cloth scroll on which he has sketched an ascending design in pencil which just approaches the too decorative.

His White Bird, a marble with five colored, feather-shaped inlay is reduced to the barest essentials, making the piece a poem of understatement. Osprey, a large wood sculpture with inlay (a technique he calls endomosaics) and a large, rhythmic horse attest to his remarkable craftsmanship. The medium is unusual. After a wax mold is made, hundreds of minuscule pieces of wood or metal are set in the epoxy-covered surface. When the wax is melted, drained and the shape polished, the sculpture is completed.

There are choice prints, numerous small, exquisite bronzes and marbles and a sensitive, symbolic portrait in bronze of the late and famous author, Isak Dinesen, executed on her 75th birthday. This is an exciting exhibition comprising a variety of forms, materials and media, done with originality and pristine craftsmanship.

Betje Howell