“The recurring theme of my work is the play of beauty, danger and survival. Usually my female forms feature a contained concentration and sexual energy similar to that present in the full metal casing and long point of a rifle bullet. The form is in itself a missile pushing through time in an effort to survive.” – Andrew Logan
At its best, sculpture achieves a sense of timeless poetry or music; where the flow of words or the cascading notes of a symphony are captured in a singular sensual moment.
But sculpture is problematic. It must, in an ideal world, be seen from all angles; it must seduce and beguile if it is to survive the test of time. This is where Andrew Logan gets it right when he states: “I believe a sculpture should own its surroundings; it should engage and keep the mind’s attention.”
Sculpture in its varied forms has been with mankind ever since the earliest days of expression. One sees sculptural forms of sinuous beauty in the ruins of Angkor Watt or hidden in crumbling temples in Sri Lanka. One sees sculpture in the marble foyers of Chase Manhattan Bank in New York or in the parklands of Melbourne’s Langwarrin. The styles of sculpture are as plentiful as the cultures that have spawned them. But two key elements are forever apparent in the best work: form and medium. Plastics have been used, but rarely seem to last. It is the time-honoured media of stone, wood and bronze that last. These are the media that Andrew Logan has been drawn to since childhood.
There is a clear desire in Logan’s work to bring the past and the present into direct correlation. If there is a linking language throughout the aeons that he subscribes to, it is that of timeless elegance and beauty.
It is inevitable, looking at Logan’s work, that one thinks of that other master of form, the famous Romanian-born sculptor Constantin Brancusi, the creator of the ethereal Bird in Space.† .
Brancusi settled in Paris in 1904 where his early influences included African as well as oriental art, but he soon decided on an evolutionary search for pure form. Like Brancusi, while never rejecting the natural world, Logan undoubtedly succeeds in conveying a sense of gravity by reducing his work to a few key elements. Paradoxically, this process also tends to highlight the complexity of thought that has gone into the making of his sculptures.
Brancusi did much to encourage a revival of carving and great respect for an artist's materials, and this is a tradition that Logan has embraced with a passion.
Both artists were initially intrigued by the exotic and the primitive. Early in his life Logan was inspired by exotic images brought home from abroad by his parents. Growing up in rural Northern New South Wales, the young Logan was inspired to visit the remote locales where such magical totems were made. Almost as soon as he majored in art at the Cranbrook School in Sydney he spent a year living and working with Aboriginal communities in central and northern Australi,a where he developed a passion to learn more about the world’s indigenous art. In 1987 he undertook an epic seven-year adventure through China, India, South East Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, a cornucopia of visual delights that fuelled an already abundant and fecund imagination.
Logan rapidly ensconced himself in the Sydney art scene but, still restless, in 1996 he was accepted into the United States with a 01 Visa as an Alien of Extraordinary Ability. One wonders whether the United States Immigration officials had decided that Logan’s organic creations were suitably other-worldly for this title.
In New York Logan found work assisting that rabid avant-gardist Nam June Paik. The Korean-born experimentalist had established his name creating sculptures from televisions and utilising video. It was the opposite approach to Logan’s love of materiality, but not so far removed in terms of experimentation and a willingness to break all rules.
Still keen to broaden his skills, Logan soon fled Paik’s Soho studio to apprentice himself to a fine art foundry in Pennsylvania where he would master the difficult world of bronze. While Paik had been experimenting with new technologies, Logan wanted to return to the elegant basics and his original love of stone, wood, marble and metal. This rapidly led to the establishment of his own studio and foundry.
Where Paik had wanted to re-invent the future, Logan wanted to embrace the resonances of history and the timelessness of form. His creations, at times monumental, but always subtle and intimate, rapidly found a home in the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Logan was creating an escape route from the harsh neo-geo of the metropolis, a space for contemplation and sensuality. He had rediscovered one of the corner-stones of art – its ability to re-humanise in a dehumanised world.
Logan has said of his work that “A sculpture exists to survive.” To do this, he believes, “it must beguile, enchant, disturb, please and ultimately seduce its owner.”
To do this there is a distinct element of sensual seduction at play. When Logan works in Carrera marble, the most loved traditional medium of sculptors for aeons, it melts under his touch, flowing like soft lava. He makes the hard – bronze, marble and timber – soft and beguiling. At times it is clearly sexual; the female form is rendered with lustful relish, but also with an abiding respect for beauty. Logan’s art is an act of alchemical magic, of transformative poetry, one all too rare in the day and age of mechanical reproduction.