PAUL STEIN: an artist’s statement
I am a sculptor who works primarily within the direct metal approach, as opposed to the cast metal method. I have a particular affinity with stainless steel, perhaps because of its contemporary associations, but also because it inspires one to make sculptures with strong lines and pure forms, rather than busy surfaces and detail. These ideas appeal to me. I am drawn to simplicity of form and the statement of an idea with minimum fuss.
Concerning subject matter, one of my current interests is the notion of GENESIS and the concept of locked-in ideas. Thus I find my expression in the natural world of seeds and their associated pods, or perhaps an idea, a thought, which germinates in the brain, perhaps a dream.The idea is a germinal impulse which needs to find a way out of a matrix and be brought to life and the mysterious life forces move these bundles of energy forward in time. I find inspiration in Contemporary Jewellery, the Architecture of our time, machinery from the Industrial era, the natural world. I am also interested in the idea of fragmentation, of form, and implied movement in sculpture. How do you alter the static nature of sculpture, and make it come alive? The current quest by particle physicists to solve the problem of matter intrigues me and I would like to attempt sculptures dealing with this subject matter.Problems about how sculptures are best viewed, and their relationship to the base, and where they find their final resting place, interest me.
The place of sculpture in the contemporary world presents challenges. In a world where an increasing avalanche of design makes its voice heard in every 3D object, where chairs and buildings resemble sculpture, the eye is distracted by so many worked surfaces, patterns, colors, and the quest of how to make the unique voice of contemporary sculpture heard remains challenging
I was born in Johannesburg in 1956. My parents were part of the cultural scene in JHB in the sixties and through them I was exposed to many of the artists of that era. In particular, my father was friendly with Eduardo Villa, and my visits to his studio in Kew are perhaps when the idea of making steel sculpture took root.
I graduated from Wits University with a humanities degree, and set up a studio shortly thereafter. The Johannesburg based artist Aileen Lipkin, took an interest in what I was doing and encouraged me. I would make up some of her smaller sculpture commissions and, through her interest and encouragement, possibilities emerged.
I live and work in Cape Town, South Africa.