Casey Horn Artist Review
Winged Victory of Samothrace, 190 BC
It is from his expertise in metal fabrication, welding, and foundry processes that Casey Horn creates his sculptures. Inspired from Japanese and Chinese culture, the aesthetically pleasing lines of Asian Calligraphy helps form Casey’s sculptures and provides unspoken meaning to them. The flowing forms of Casey’s sculptures feel abstract and free to the viewer and often have interactive features of movement for the viewer to partake in. Like the many sculptors that came before him, Casey sculpts to give the viewer a 360 degree experience of his own unique artistic vision.
Principals of Art:
Space: Space is demonstrated to create dimension in the composition. Sculpture relies on positive and negative space to work together harmoniously. The positive forms of Casey’s sculpture create negative spaces around and in between the flowing forms. Notice the small pockets of negative space on Loyalty and how the lack of presence accentuates the flow of the sculpture.
Color: Patinas that are applied by Casey give color to the sculptures by chemically changing the surface of the bronze into the desired color. Casey uses color to catch the viewers attention and to voice the meaning behind the sculpture. Loyalty is a deep red that transitions into gold and a softer red from the bottom up. The color red is strong, much like the concept of loyalty.
Shape: The shapes of Casey’s work are flowing and relate the Asian calligraphy that inspires him. Often times he will perch symbols on top off one another to combine meanings and forms. The shapes work together to change linear direction and prompt the eye to move around it’s forms.
Form: Circle is to shape as sphere is to form. Naturally, sculpture is a form since it a three dimensional work of art. Casey creates his forms by expertly fabricating bronze together so they balance and become one. The forms will change in appearance as the viewer observes the sculptures from new angles, heightening it’s visual interest.
Value: Value relates to the tint/shade of a hue (color). Every color can be tinted by adding white or shaded by adding black. The purpose of considering value in a work of art is to help create both dimension and set a mood. A change in value adds subtle beauty to the sculpture. Casey likes to transition the colors of his patinas smoothly so they feel natural and unnoticed to the viewer. The deeper values of the red in Loyalty at the bottom of the piece help add visual weight there and lightens the top of the piece with it’s brighter values and color.
Texture: Casey hand fabricates his sculptures to be smooth and flowing lacking any distracting textures. The smooth reflective surfaces help convey the mood of tranquility and peace his sculptures emit.
Principals of Design:
Balance: In Loyalty the upper portion of the sculpture is separate from the rest of the sculpture. The separate portion balances smartly point to point enabling the upper portion to spin around the still sculpture with a small push from the viewer. This physical balance is matched by the compositional balance Casey creates. The flowing forms balance one another so the sculptures never feels too heavy in any one area and all portions work harmoniously together.
Unity: The unity of a piece is what creates a sense of completeness. The flowing forms that make up Casey’s sculptures are unified by the fact they are all one twisting line.
Variety: Variety is what adds interest into a work of art. The patina helps add visual variety to the sculpture as the change in color adds visual interest. The gradual transition of similar colors feels harmonious, yet different enough to add variety.
Emphasis: Emphasis is what the artist uses to create a focal point. Focal points can vary viewer to viewer, but a truly successful composition will have one clear focal point that the eye is continually drawn to over and over again. In Loyalty the clear focal point is the revolving top as the eye can not look away once it has been set in motion.
Movement: Movement implies motion is a snapshot of time. Casey can create actual movement in his sculptures by making them interactive to the viewer like Loyalty. He can also create sense of movement in a still sculpture due to the flowing nature of the lines. The lines provide the viewer a feeling of movement, like water in a stream or wind in the air.
Pattern: Think of pattern as the visual skeleton that organizes the parts of a composition. This underlying structure uses consistent and regular repetition. You can have both natural and man made pattern. Casey’s sculptures show pattern in the repetition of line and shapes.
Perspective: Perspective in sculpture is a 360 degree experience as the viewer takes in the artwork from all angles. The sculpture will change due to the perspective in which you view it and provide a new work of art to admire with every new angle.
For some of Casey’s sculptures he uses the lost wax casting technique which has been in use for the last 6,000 years in the production of bronze sculpture. The process starts with making the model in clay, wax or a similar medium.
Once the form has been created a mold is made around it so the interior of the ridged outer mold holds a mirror image of the original mold in it’s interior. After the mold is completed it is filled with molten wax which creates a hollow wax copy of the original mold. The wax mold is then “chased” where it is finished to look just like the original mold. This wax copy is then “spurred” with a tree like structure of wax which will act as a guide for the molten coating material and then melted away. Once the wax copy has been spurred, it is then dipped into a slurry of silica which acts like a sand coating the entire exterior of the wax copy.
This silica coated piece is placed in a kiln, spurred down, and the heat hardens the shell and the wax melts out. Now all that remains of the original artwork is the negative space formerly occupied by the wax, inside the hardened ceramic shell. Bronze is melted in a furnace then poured into the shell and then allowed to cool. The shell is either sand blasted or hammered away revealing the rough casting. Metal chasing now smooths the edges, removes imperfections, and clips off the spurs to reveal the same mold in its finished bronze form.
Casey is also a master metal worker and fabricator. Amazingly much of Casey’s work is hand fabricated, meaning he molds, smooths, and finishes his sculptures by hand.
It is with supreme expertise that Casey is able to make these flowing forms with such balance and refined surfaces. Lastly, the patina is then painstakingly applied by the artist typically with a paint or air brush.