As an artist throughout my life, I have continually pursued and wondered about the concept of Beauty. Is it perfection or imperfection? A fleeting moment or timeless? Over the years the creation and presentation of something that I consider beautiful has been my way of attempting to unravel it’s mystery. And in that attempt, try to grasp an understanding of Beauty’s enormous yet subtle power over every aspect of my life. I have always been certain of nature’s Beauty but as I began to classify objects, particularly art, as beautiful or not, a limited construct of Beauty became apparent. Once I realized this, I knew that I made Beauty static while it is not. And if I am to grow as a human being and an artist, so must my concept of Beauty. Socrates and Plato spoke of Beauty as being inherent to an object as well as good. And that the Beauty within something is it’s purest form. I believe Beauty must be experienced by the senses but in order to do this we must have the capacity to recognize Beauty. This is why it’s so important for me to continually expand my concept of Beauty. I believe that the more I look for Beauty, the more I find it and the more broad and ever present it becomes and can inform my work.
Another question that comes up for me is “Are imperfections and vulnerability inherent in Beauty or are they external aspects that make something even more beautiful”? As I work with a particular stone, I love what naturally comes to the surface or may actually be on the surface. When I first began sculpting I was taught to clean away the surface area to see if the stone had potential weaknesses or to find areas that may not be so “pretty”. Then as my skill and work evolved, I chose not to do this as I often found areas that others may have perceived as “damaged” or vulnerable, to actually be quite interesting and lovely. So I’ve grown to love what I call these “surprises”. I am also very quite purposeful and patient in the way I carve so as not to potentially miss any of these exciting surprises. But there is always a practicality that I’m conscious of with respect to the stone’s structural integrity because after all, I want my sculptures to last for a very long time.
My sculptures begin with an inherently beautiful medium, natural stone. So the big job of Beauty is already done. All I have to do is scrape away the years of time left untouched until that moment my hands and heart meet the stone to uncover it’s essence. The medium directly informs the sculpture. For me it is an experience that gives me great joy. I have been studying the ancient art of stone sculpting for the past 8 years and feel my journey is just beginning which makes it such an exciting medium for me in my quest for Beauty; and one I hope you will enjoy discovering as well.
By Christina Bertsos