Coudari – Art with a Heart
Coudari is an individualist whose expressionism emerges in a range of styles and subjects. His sculptures address universal themes and affirm the universality of the human condition. Coudari’s stylistic sculptural devices and techniques are incredibly refined and rely on the act of reduction and simplification, while maintaining a textural abstract intensity. It all comes together in the composite figurative sculptural themes that are at the heart of Coudari’s art.
— By John K. Grande
— Cover: ‘Ponytail’ – detail
Some of the works are small-scale and synthesize form with a near primitive intensity, but always informed by classicism and early modern sculpture. Coudari achieves a balance between mass, texture and surface effect. Sculptures like ‘Le Snob’ (1995) have an intricate and complex interweave of mass, texture and surface effects that gives them an enigmatic strength. They make a statement! Parts of the human body are figurative, while others become purely material. This approach recalls Constantin Brancusi’s earliest sculptures ‘Torment’ (1907) and ‘Sleeping Child’ (1908).
Coudari’s studies of women carry with them an eternal silence that is the essence of sculptural presence. Works like ‘Woman Interrupted’ (2010) and ‘Woman of Triangle’ (2007) are a narrative on the body’s presence. Forms flow …
So many of these finely worked bronze sculptures have an angular, geometricized density that recalls the works of Archipenko and Duchamp-Villon. ‘Distortion I’ (2003) is penetrating in its intensity. Coudari humanizes the facial forms. The portrait becomes a total environment, the face a hemisphere where the entirety of this woman’s experience is revealed.
The near Cubist fusion of partial geometries and real modelling is pure poetry. There is surreal fusion of abstract and figurative; reality reaches us through a dense and ultimately unsettling atmosphere of angles, gestures and textures.
‘Glacier I: Destinies’ (2002) and ‘Glacier II: Making Way’ (2002) are metaphors for life’s great journey. Miniature sculptural elements stand like stones projecting a sense of scale in miniature environments. The act of reduction is itself a process that demands great concentration. The standing forms become a sculptor’s reflection on time and place.
‘Meta’ (2003) recalls African sculptures and the stylization we see in ‘Naya’ (2006) likewise transform traces of ancient Minoan art, giving it all a modernist twist. The resulting balance embodies silence, a spatial symbolic presence that is eternal and draws on the common experience of all peoples.
Coudari’s portrait head sculptures always work on the push and pull between the ancient and the modern and redefine it all in the moment. Above all, they are expressionist testimonies to the sculptor’s spirit and capacity to animate forms in space.
Coudari’s sculptures are a history lesson. Form becomes a contained metaphor for some immeasurably universal truth. For Coudari, the body represents a moment in a greater dimensional eternity.
John K. Grande’s feature articles, reviews and interviews have been published in Artforum, Sculpture Magazine, Public Art Review, Arte.Es, and many other international magazines. Grande has curated art exhibitions worldwide. His books include Art Nature Dialogues (SUNY Press, New York), Dialogues in Diversity (Pari Publishing, Italy), Nils-Udo; Art with Nature (Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany), Le movement intuitif; Patrick Dougherty (Atelier 340, Bruxelles), and Nils-Udo; Sur l’eau (Actes Sud, France, 2015). John K. Grande received a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Pécs in Hungary in 2015.
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