Sculpting the Rest of the Story

Last week 700 women attended Winchester’s Women Helping Women “Project Runway 2012” fundraiser, to benefit the Chamber of Commerce. It was a smashing sold-out success!

This years’ theme for the designers was Pulled From the Headlines. One design in particular, caught my eye, an elegant floor-length evening gown designed by the amazing metal artist, Madeleine Lord.

Madeleine started cutting steel sculpture in 1983 and over the past twenty years has created both large public works as well as many small cut steel sculptures for homes or gardens. Her recent work combines found scrap metal into figures, cities, animals or clothes.

Madi took a departure from her normal medium to become a couturier in tribute to the late American abstract expressionist painter, Helen Frankenthaler.

And now I present, The Rest of the Story, as sculpted by Madeline Lord.

Homage to Helen Frankenthaler                           by Madeline Lord

“Helen Frankenthaler invented color field painting, reaching over enormous canvases with mops and brooms, she drew and stained with vibrant fluid strokes.  Her work was a surround sound of color and line. She held her own at the top of the pack of American Expressionists – Jackson Pollack, Hans Hoffman and Robert Motherwell.  She also welded sculpture from found steel.  She invented, painted and welded her place in American Art history. She was my inspiration.

I started my homage to her with an old electric fan, creating the turban.  Then I painted 10 yards of charmeuse silk on the floor, as if in her studio, working quickly, with large brushes and rapid gestures.  I designed the dress from the painted fabric, working with the color to find the form.

The oyster shell cameo necklace and garnish on the hat evoke nature’s own stain painting and her rich life of work and play in Manhattan, Connecticut, Cambridge and Paris. The kidskin gloves quote her bright color palate and hopefully the total result is a fully animated Helen Frankenthaler painting walking down the runway.

Her work was open and spontaneous pulling equally from the head and the heart.  It appeared to be born in a minute – yet it was enormous, fearless, and mysteriously beautiful.

She was constant to her gift, producing pure artistic joy.”

Dress designed by Madeleine Lord.

Link here to see more of Madi’s sculpture art

University Place Gallery – Showing through May 24th

Madeleine’s work – in her own words:

“There is no guarantee that metal scraps will combine, commune and lead to art. There is no guarantee that if they exist I will find them.  It is a matter of faith in one’s ability to see something in the abandoned bits and beams and to keep looking – openly – without preconception.

My driveway and garage have a constantly shifting supply of pre-art metal – it adds up and creates its own tension – urgency – hierarchies – tribes.  When selecting and combining, an image hovers in the first few pieces thrown together at the metal yard or later in my driveway.  There is energy associated to the pile of raw and untamed – and when the arranging starts it engages fully.

The results hopefully leave the source visible while providing an entirely new image.”

Madeleine’s new work is in a four-artist show: “Gathering” at the University Place, Cambridge MA – until May 24.  The artists will be there to guide visitors on Cambridge Open Studio Weekend, May 17-18.


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