The Use Aluminum in Contemporary Sculptures
Aluminum is often used for sculptures, and its usage has evolved over time to reflect the availability of various forms of aluminum as they have become commonly used for other purposes such as architecture. Its light weight and ease of malleability make it a popular choice for many different kinds of sculpture pieces, ranging from large pieces where the metal's light weight lends its advantage, to smaller or more intricate works that utilize it in thin sheets or wires.
Examples of Aluminum Sculpture
Aluminum sculptures often have a light and almost airy appearance, due to the fact that the softer metal can be cut into intricate shapes, especially when thin aluminum sheets are used as part of the sculpture. These pieces often show a lot of movement and energy, and often have a modern or contemporary look that can be very appealing when used as part of modern decor. Aluminum wire is also often used as part of a sculpture, which often works well with abstract sculpture pieces as well as part of more realistic representations. Aluminum has a cool and clean appearance that lends itself well to contemporary sculpture and many pieces of modern sculpture available today have been crafted from aluminum. It is often a material of choice for wall sculptures, due to the fact that these types of pieces have a bit more protection than freestanding pieces, so the metal's softness is not as much of a detracting feature, plus the metal's light weight is also an advantage, making the piece easy to hang.
History of Aluminum Sculptures
One of the first examples of aluminum sculpture was a statue of Eros, which was cast in 1892, being displayed in London. Its light weight is often makes it easier to use in art as opposed to heavier metals such as steel. The large simple forms of minimalistic art from the 1960s and 1970s were often fashioned using aluminum. Although soft and easily bent in its thinner forms, when cast into heavier shapes it is useful for producing sculptures that weigh less and are easier to move and work with than those fashioned from many other types of metal.
Challenges of Using Aluminum in Sculptures
Artists creating in aluminum often find that adding color in the form of paint is difficult. This is because paints such as acrylics or oils don't adhere well to an aluminum surface, although some artists use polyurethanes to give their pieces an interesting look. Thin pieces of aluminum can also be easily bent, so unless thicker pieces are used, the sculpture needs to be somewhat protected to prevent damage.
Strengths of Aluminum as a Sculpture Material
Aluminum is a very soft and malleable metal, which can be easy to cut, bend and shape. This allows the artist a lot of flexibility when making art to create just the types of designs that he or she envisions. Pieces can also be glued together using common adhesives, and due to its softer surface, etching, wire brushing, hammering, chiseling and other shaping techniques can be used to create unusual and striking effects in aluminum art.