San Francisco

Carl Vilbrandt

Bolles Gallery

Another sculptor who has been using casting in an original way is Carl Vilbrandt (Bolles Gallery) who has taken molds of many faces—and hands, feet, and even genitals, and has pieced them together, glazed and fired them. One of the more innovative aspects of Vilbrandt’s technique is the use of a pump with small holes like a salt shaker to press the clay into fine strings like vermicelli. The form, when pressed into his molds, retains an element of the strings. These can be fired without fear of breakage in the kiln, because the heat dispersal problem (the bane of terra-cotta sculptors), has been licked. The stringiness afforded at least twice the surface and a large amount of dead air space all the way through. A number of these pieces were fired in small parts and epoxied together into works of a larger size than kilns can usually accommodate. Several of the masks are combinations of molds of each part of the face, a piece with the lips, another piece with the nose, etc., probably using parts from several sources. Another mask first made full form has subsequently been pressed flat with most of the characteristics still evident. The work imparts a strong aboriginal fetish characteristic.

Knute Stiles