Carole Feuerman, artist from the United States. Photo © Courtesy of the artist
1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.
I am an American sculptor, author and a mother. All my life I knew I wanted to be an artist. At the age of ten, I helped my grandfather design our home by spray-painting an outline of each room on the lawn. He then built the home for my parents. By fifth grade, my teacher affirmed my art skills by asking me to give weekly drawing lessons to my class. While in high school, I sold my first painting. I studied at Hofstra University, Temple University, and graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
In 1967, all the while working as an illustrator to pay for my college education, I illustrated for the New York Times, and made album covers for Alice Cooper and The Rolling Stones. I’m one of the three founding members of the Hyperrealist movement that began in the 1970’s. I am best known for my figures of swimmers and dancers.
I‘ve taught, lectured, and given workshops at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon Guggenheim Museum. In 2011, I founded the Carole A. Feuerman Sculpture Foundation.
In 1978 that I decide to switch from Illustration to fine art. I created thirteen erotic sculptures and exhibited them in a in a gallery in Fort Worth, Texas. The show was called “Rated X”. But unfortunately, after the opening, the art dealer told me Fort Worth was not ready to show my erotic art. The next day I was told to remove my work and go home. Although I was disappointed, I got back to New York and decided that I would never make erotic art again. I created a new body of work about leisure sports.
One day, while sitting on a beach, I visualized a swimmer coming out of the water… hair slicked back, water dripping off their skin and the look of ecstasy on their face as she accomplished something that made her happy. I identified with her and decided to create a sculpture of a swimmer. I called it Catalina. It went on to become my most famous sculpture and led to my creating my many sculptures of swimmers.
2.What does your work aim to say?
My work never just mimics the human body. I want the work to take the body to another level. It is important to me that my swimmers tell my stories, about conquering fear, survival, and balance perserverance. I wanted the viewer to have an emotional bond with each piece, and to evoke happiness – nothing disturbing or off-putting, only tranquillity, sensuality, and beauty. That is why I have named them The Golden Mean, Balance, Perseverance, and Survival of Serena.
3.Where do you find inspiration for your art?
I’m inspired by the wonder of life, and people. People fascinate me. I enjoy them and love to watch them interact. I pay attention to their body language and how they handle their feelings and their problems. My realistic style allows me to present a universal moment to which every viewer can relate.
I explore emotional dimensions where the sculpture depicts, not just one frozen second, but an infinite and universal state of being. Underlying the realistic daily activities depicted in my sculptures are common threads of experiences that connect us to one another.
4.Could you give us some insight into your creative process?
Each sculpture starts with a story I want to tell. Then I find a person to model for me. Their body needs to communicate that story. Sometimes they are my stories, taken from my life. I can see the sculpture finished before I begin. Next, I photograph the model and study the pose from all sides. When I am satisfied, I either take a 3D scan of the model, or life cast them, or a combination of both. I then make a prototype, in either monumental size, life-size, or tabletop size. This is called a maquette. When it’s complete, it is used to make a mold, and the mold is used to make the edition of the sculpture. This casting gets patinated and finished and goers on to become the art.
5.What are your future projects?
During these unprecedented times, the role of artists has become more important than ever. I need to continue to express my thoughts through my art. I am more grateful than ever that I can do that. I’ve been invited to speak on a panel sponsored by Horasis. This foundation is the foremost annual gathering of American business and political leaders and their global counterparts.
This event brings together over 1,000 outstanding speakers and keynote speakers to overcome the profound economic, political and social disruptions caused by COVID-19 and to shape America’s role in the post-COVID world. My panel is called The Arts – Shaping Equality, Charting the Future. It was held virtually on March 4th 2022, and I spoke to artists Filiz Çiçek and Helen C. Frederick.
For centuries, gender influenced the production and reception of art as female artists were forbidden to have an equal education and develop an artistic language. To achieve gender equality, how can female artists confront and change the narrative? And how do you promote equality in everyday life?
In the last two years I’ve become an Author, and have written my autobiography, “My Hyperrealist Life and Legacy”. I just finished recording it as an audiobook and I’ve also written an updated a second edition, to be published in Italian in time for the Biennale. I’m also making podcassts and videos with a continued emphasis on putting them on my social media pages. They can be seen and listened to on iTunes, Spotify and Apple.
I have been very busy getting ready for this year’s Venice Biennale, to be held in Italy from April 23 – November 22, 2022. I have a solo show at the Church of the Pietà – Saint Mary of the Visitation in San Marco. I’ve made five new sculptures. Two enormous ones will also be unveiled in Giardini outside the entrance to the Biennale. One more will be in the front of a hotel Palazzina G Grassi Venezia Sito Ufficiale. Aside from this, several sculptures will be at San Clemente Palace.
Another one will be installed in the permanent collection of the Marghers Museum in Di Forte Marghera. I am making new pieces for a public show in St. Tropez with my artworks to be placed throught the city. One piece will be installed in front of the Hotel de Paris at the entrance to the city. I’m also preparing for planning a solo show at the Medici Museum of Art in Ohio.
As I grow older, I realize that life is a never-ending journey. We should always aspire to be better and hope for the best. Keeping that idea in mind, I always make sure not to lose sight of hope. As of now, I can only hope that the pandemic comes to its end. For the future, I would love to have a show at an esteemed New York City Museum. I hope for more public works to be owned by cities so that my art can become accessible to more and more people. Some of my other aspirations for the future include breaking the five-million-dollar mark for the sale of a single sculpture. Lastly, however, I’d love to keep on making art, and leaving behind my legacy!
Carole A. Feuerman (Hartford, 1945) is a hyper-realist sculptor, one of the most important of this artistic genre. Her works are mostly in colored resin, but also in bronze, marble and gold leaf. The subjects she chooses to sculpt are portraits of surprise and are above all swimmers, athletic figures who convey the lightness of poetry; these choices represent her stylistic choice since the 1980s and recall her childhood spent on Long Island and her passion for swimming.
Among her most important works, Feuerman created The Thinker, a tribute to the work of Auguste Rodin and in 2004, the artist participated in the exhibition “An American Odyssey 1945-1980” together with many of the most promising American artists of the post-war period. Her works are kept in various private collections, including those of Henry Kissinger and Michail Gorbachev, Bill and Hillary Clinton; among the museums, however, her works are part of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, the Bass Museum, the Boca Raton Museum and the Forbes Magazine Art Collection. In addition, the artist has exhibited all over the world, in particular in Basel, Rome, Beijing, Essen, San Francisco and Capri. Carole A. Feuerman lives and works in the United States.