FIRST of all, in my sculptures, what both intrigues and excites me is to successfully create an image that, at first glance, grabs the viewer’s attention and carries your eyes along the dominant lines of the figure. In each sculpture, you are invited to discover the gesture or action line embedded in the work. Go ahead; view the work from other angles. With 3-D art, it is particularly satisfying for me to succeed in captivating your interest from all sides of the piece.
SECOND, as you examine the sculpture more closely, you notice that a hallmark of my work is that, while I am sculpting in clay, I accentuate the natural planes of the body, slightly abstracting the figure, which invites your eyes to linger further.
THIRD, I endeavor to render certain details or features so that they all contribute to the mood of the piece. The gesture of the figure’s hand, the twist of the body, the tilt of the head, even the turn of a foot. Each of these is carefully sculpted to convey the message of the work.
FINALLY, using these approaches, my artistic mission is to generate allegories in bronze and glass that mirror the narrative of our lives. This, in turn, provides you the viewer with a glimpse of your own reflection. Whereas some of my works reflect a tranquility that seems almost eternal, others are very dynamic and kinetic. Some seem lyrical and light hearted, some are grief struck and still others are uplifting, even stirring. But all speak to the human condition and the spectrum of our experience through the compelling beauty and the singular expressiveness of the human body.
Thus, while rendering the individual, I attempt to express the universal; while capturing a moment, to convey the timeless.
Born and raised in rural Indiana, David Varnau grew up appreciating the lyrical in nature all around him. A wide-eyed, nature child, he developed an eye for the subtle and sometimes striking beauty of everyday moments and encounters in his environment. While pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Loyola University of Chicago, he found himself fascinated with watching people of all ages and races in a large urban center and was intrigued by the language of the body as it expressed the range of human emotions. David’s decision to spend a year abroad in Rome during his junior year stimulated a lifelong love of classical sculpture. Then, upon completion of his degree, his work in psychology as a rehab counselor provided him with valuable insights into the vulnerable side of human nature.
While receiving post-baccalaureate training in the field of prosthetics at UCLA, David gained an in depth education in human anatomy and biomechanics. This launched a rewarding 35 year career of serving amputees and provided him with an appreciation for the human spirit’s capacity to transform loss into victory. David’s prosthetic training and his interactions with his patients provided him with an eye for the wonders of the human body and a heart to sense the essence of the person before him. This was his milieu and it stimulated his yearning to express his insights in sculpture, leading David to pursue his art studies at Gage Academy in Seattle.
When one views his works, it is apparent that his figures are carefully sculpted to create a somewhat abstracted rendering of the human form. A hallmark of David’s style is his highlighting the natural planes of the body in order to dramatize the body’s innate energy while, at the same time, create eye-tugging interest. His insightful works are generally not theatrical as is often seen in the neo-mannerist figure sculpture of today, but his figures instead confidently derive their aliveness from the understated, even contemplative mood they each evoke. Their poignancy lies in David’s stunning accuracy and the powerful vibrancy with which his works express the truths of our human condition,
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