Ramon Hurtado recently painted this piece depicting an outdoor sculpture, and he took a moment to explain why the subject matter caught his eye.
A sculpture such as “The Mystery of Life,” the complex and brilliant multi-figured sculpture that Hurtado found in Los Angeles’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park (a cemetery), packs in it the original content the sculptor imbued, the context of the sculpture, and the abstract and atmospheric contributions that plein air painting adds to any scene. The fact that sculptures like this one are monochromatic, enabling the painter to show his or her facility in rendering value and color temperature of light and shadow as it plays over a single local color, only increases its appeal as subject matter.
Hurtado has this to say: “Figurative sculpture is an increasingly rare feature in modern urban spaces. As a painter of outdoor subjects, I’m fascinated by the way that the beautiful organic forms of sculpture contrast with the hard, geometric structures that define contemporary architecture. This tension between flat and dimensional spaces creates a rare kind of aesthetic magic, a push-pull dynamic that forces the viewer to engage with the painting.
“At the same time, painting sculpture provides us with an opportunity to connect with the artwork that surrounds us. As I model the figure little by little, I feel a strong kinship with the sculptor who brought it into being, and a growing appreciation for the work itself.”