Playful only begins to describe the work of sculptor Marty Goldstein. The bronze dogs that make up his “Harvey Dogs” series are all full of personality. Every single piece is sculpted with one purpose: to bring laughter and joy to the lives of the people who collect his work. If a piece doesn’t bring a smile to his lips while he is sculpting the clay form, it doesn’t get put through the arduous lost wax process to be cast in bronze.
“Look at a whimsical dog, and for the moment, you forget about the ills of the world, politics and other not-so-nice things,” Goldstein said.
The Art on a Whim galleries in Vail and Breckenridge will host artist receptions for Goldstein on Friday, June 27, and Saturday, June 28. The joy that Goldstein brings to the world through his happy “Harvey Dogs” is always on display in the galleries, but this weekend, Goldstein will be adding his ebullient and humorous personality to the viewing experience.
Art is meant to strike an emotional response in its viewers, and Goldstein’s work does just that. The quizzical faces, soulful eyes and playful poses of his pieces immediately disarm people and bring them right to the innocent, care-free moments of playing with their furry companions. For Goldstein, it takes him back to his childhood, which he spent with two adoring Irish setters.
It seems that Goldstein was always meant to sculpt. It took him 66 years to make it happen, however. He endured the rigors and stress of the corporate world, all the while telling his wife, Barbara, that she needed to remind him to sculpt upon his retirement. She had been told that most retired guys just get in the way of their wives after wrapping up their careers, so Goldstein knew he better find something to do with himself.
At Barbara’s urging, he took a series of sculpting classes at their local art center. From there, a series of 130 limited-edition bronze sculptures was born and a new career was launched. Goldstein has since garnered international acclaim for his creative work. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum even has a piece modeled after the president’s Scottish terrier Fala.
Process of transformation
When Goldstein begins a new sculpture, he isn’t quite sure where it is intended to go. Each piece can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete. Add in the several months it takes to transform the sculpted piece from clay to bronze, and when you stop into the Art on a Whim gallery this weekend, you will be looking at a collection that has taken years to amass.
Every piece begins with Goldstein’s determination of the size and pose that he will form. The facial characteristics and priceless expressions are always saved for last. While the perfectly smooth forms and exaggerated features of his dogs comprise a great deal of the work, it is the details that truly bring them to life. They bring a unique personality to each piece, whether it’s in the appearance of inquiring eyes or silly wrinkles.
His piece “Sylvester” stands perched in the downward dog position, ready to play with every willing passer-by. With his head cocked to the side, he seems to always be asking if you are ready to bounce around the room with him. The contented look on the face of “Charlie” compliments his oversized droopy ears, showing one easy-going and happy puppy. Each large piece has bright gold toenails. Why? Just to add a bit of the sparkle that dogs add to our lives.
The bulk of Goldstein’s work is not specific to any breed. Rather, he seeks to capture the essence of innocence and beauty that all canines possess.
“Whimsical dogs remind me that life sometimes gets too serious and that we need a release,” the artist said. “Funny-looking dogs do that for me.”
Goldstein will be in the Art on a Whim Vail gallery on June 27th, 2014 and the Breckenridge Art on a Whim gallery the following afternoon.