Why Bronze?

Amy Bright Unfried's work is cast in limited editions in bronze at an art foundry. Bronze appeals to the artist on many levels.

First is its endurance: bronze has been used for sculpture for thousands of years, and a bronze sculpture is long-lasting, timeless and classic. Unfried's sculpture seeks to capture not so much the anecdotal quality of a moment as what is timeless and eternal in the moment.

Second is bronze's beauty: the variety and subtlety of texture and patina of which bronze is capable is remarkable.

Patina, the surface color treatment of a bronze sculpture, derives from a chemical change in the surface of the bronze which is created by the application of particular chemical solutions to the bronze along with the catalyst of heat.

Different chemicals produce different colors; the easiest and most common colors are brown, green, and black, but an astonishing variety of shades, combinations and layering can be achieved by a foundry's skilled patina artists.

Amy Bright Unfried often combines different colors in a single piece for a polychrome effect; for example, in her "Flora," "Pomona," and "Quiet" the female figures wear dresses of green and their skin and hair are shades of brown and black.

Third is bronze's extraordinary tensile strength: this permits the creation of compositions in bronze which would be impossible in media such as stone, wood or terra cotta - compositions involving cantilevering or balancing of larger forms on a smaller base, or very thin passages such as drapery that does not cover a larger form.

Some of Amy Bright Unfried's sculpture of which this is true are figurative pieces such as "Annunciation," "Dreamer" and "Robert, a Dancer," as well as  her many trees with birds and her Moebius strip pieces, none of which could be achieved in media other than bronze.
 

Collaborative process with foundry


Since 2001 I have worked with Art Castings of Montana, in Belgrade, MT.  The kinds of non-traditional work I have been making for the past fifteen years or so has presented challenges to them as to how to have a successful casting from the natural materials I have brought to them for casting. 

They've learned how to solve or minimize a lot of the problems, and I've learned how to design pieces to avoid some kinds of problems. It's still a bit of a gamble each time, with these unique pieces that, if they don't cast perfectly, may be impossible to repair, even though the medium of bronze is very forgiving and  many kinds of casting flaws can be repaired. It's been a great collaborative partnership.