Michael James Talbot is a master at creating breathtaking bronze sculptures that venerate the gentle tension and balance of the female form. The London-based artist is well known for his exquisite pieces that are intricate celebrations of the human body. Reminiscent of classic Greek and Roman style sculptures, his work is realistic but with a modern sense of surrealism, depicting captivating figures emerging from solid sheets of oxidized bronze.
Talbot states that he draws inspiration from the human form, finding poetry in its lines and movement. His work juxtaposes the soft curvature of the body against unforgiving sheets of bronze that create the illusion of draped fabric that becomes his model's garments. The delicate figures are lovely and serene, but not without a gentle strength, as the medium lends a solidity to the familiar final pieces that can be “seen, touched and walked around and yet remain an object of pure spirit.”
The sculptor skillfully shapes his creations out of moulding clay, before casting each figure into bronze and coating it with a chemical patina. Talbot's process results in stunning, expressive statues that almost seem to be alive. He expands upon his craft on his website: “I work from the live model in my pursuit of a particular momentary form or gesture. This I contrast with the absolute nature of bronze. It is what remains when time sweeps all else away. When we gaze into the face of an ancient bronze in a museum, what reaches out across the millennia of time is not how different, but how like us they were.”
“Sculpture for me, is essentially a theatrical construction, an attempt to show and illuminate a chosen moment in time. I draw my creative inspiration from theatre, myth, dance and illusion. The inspiration for the Briseis and Ariadne sculptures were taken from plumes of water in a night-lit fountain which, with the distortion of the mind’s eye, figures appeared in the tumbling crest of a column of liquid energy. This, I have tried to capture in bronze, through the lost wax process, a technique from Ancient Greece, to render a timeless human narrative from the Myth of Greece. I like to give my sculptures choreography of form, tension and balance to lead the eye and capture a moment in time, sometimes I work with the fragment form rather than an entire figure (like Harlequin and Primrose Path). This is a favourite artistic device often inspired by shadows of the model on the studio wall - because less is sometimes more.
I work from the live model in my pursuit of a particular momentary form or gesture. This I contrast with the absolute nature of bronze. It is what remains when time sweeps all else away. When we gaze into the face of an ancient bronze in a museum, what reaches out across the millennia of time is not how different, but how like us they were.”