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AP ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: HENRY NURENBERG

As a freshman in Intro to Sculpture, I mainly saw this class as an opportunity to hang out with friends while working with my hands. It wasn’t until my sophomore year, when many of my friends stopped participating in sculpture, that I realized I really enjoyed planning out a project and seeing it come to fruition.

As I grew to love creating forms and bringing them to life, I continued in sculpture through my junior and senior years. Not only do I love the projects that we accomplish, but also the social and laid-back environment that we get to work in as a break from the stress of high school. 

Early on, I realized that I enjoyed working with wood more than most other materials. Plaster was too messy, wire was monotonous, and cardboard just wasn’t interesting enough. Wood is a strong, durable material that takes both precision and strength to form. As a non-flexible material, wood doesn’t seem like the type of substance that would be used to create curvy, abstract forms - so that’s exactly what I did. This task proved more difficult than I’d imagined, but I loved the challenge provided by my ambitious designs. 

The support of my teacher and classmates has cultivated my love for sculpture and driven me to continue growing each day. Should I find another environment as inviting, helpful, and enjoyable as the one I’ve found in the ESD sculpture classroom, I will certainly continue my endeavors after high school and throughout college.

Henry has taken a deep dive into the multivalent problem space of organic forms. In doing so he stretches wood to its limits, daring it to perform at the very edges of its capability.
- Dane Larsen, AP Sculpture Teacher

Viking Ship

This first piece is my Viking Ship. I created this huge replica my junior year, and it has a wire armature which I used as a base to pour plaster on top of. The mast is a fishing pole, with wires to help hold up the sail. The hardest part was probably the sail, since it was hard to initially pour plaster on since it was so flimsy compared to the small fishing pole it’s on. I chose to leave my plaster imprints on the piece instead of smoothing it out.

I really enjoyed making this piece because the rest of my class was also making huge plaster pieces, so we all got to work on them together and bounce ideas off each other. This piece did teach me that I preferred working with wood over plaster, because of the never-ending batches of plaster I had to constantly make during class. Overall, this is just one of my bigger pieces and I think it turned out really well.

Mountain-Range.jpg

No description provided by artist.

Oval Bean

This piece, which I called Oval Bean, has been compared to an egg, a football, and every other oval shaped item you can think of. This was probably my favorites piece to make, since the whole process went really smoothly and it looks much better than I thought it would. I started with a tree stump, and used an axe to outline the shape that I wanted and then make the ends narrower. Once I got it to be symmetrical enough, I used the lathe to rough out the roundness of the piece and get the overall egg shape. It was bigger, but since everything had to be perfectly round on the lathe, it ended up way smaller than it originally was. Once I had my perfectly round egg, I used the grinder and sander to smooth it out completely, and finished by hand-sanding it with 220 sandpaper. The grinder can be rough at times, and actually split the wood in one area, which had to be glued back on. This was really annoying because I had to re-sand it, but I still really like how it turned out. I won a regional award for this egg and a small prize. 
 

Entanglement

My copper piece was really fun to make because the soldering process is so different from anything we’ve done so far. I completed this my junior year, and honestly just started with two pieces of copper and let it build itself by placing connecting random pieces I thought would look cool. I think Entanglement really fits this piece because not only does it look like it’s tangled; many of the copper pieces are really close to each other and could really be tangled. My least favorite part of making this piece was definitely cleaning it after it was completely soldered. I had to take steel wool and rub the copper as hard as I could, and then I’d come in the next day and forgot where I’d left off and sometimes do the same area twice. It was hard to work in some of the tight spots, especially near the connections, which made cleaning the piece take longer than actually soldering all the connections. I still like how it turned out, and I do think cleaning it contributed to that.

Insanity

This is my most recent piece, and honestly I call it Insanity because that’s how I felt making it. I saw this form in a book and wanted to recreate it, so I started with a tree stump and an axe just like the egg. But unlike the egg this piece has massive amounts of negative space right in the middle, which I had to remove with a large drill bit which started overheating after only 2 or 3 uses and couldn’t even go all the way through. After that, I had to remove tons of wood from one end to make the stem and then work on taking out even more negative space that the drill didn’t get to. When I’d finally removed enough wood from the middle, I worked on making the edges curved instead of flat and roughing out the corners. Unfortunately I couldn’t use the lathe this time, so I had to do all of the rounding myself with the grinder and a few other random tools. I ran into problems multiple times when I needed to use the grinder against end grain, which split the wood and made it hard to continue. It was even hard to glue the piece back together because there was no easy way to clamp it since there’s no straight edges.

Insanity (cont.)

The whole process was never smooth and I constantly had to figure out how to solve different problems. Even after I finished sanding and I was ready to add the finishing linseed oil to give it that shine, I realized that some wood glue had stayed on the top of the piece which made it difficult to apply the linseed oil, but after I fiddled some more I was able to make it work.

LISTEN TO HENRY'S PRESENTATION OF HIS WORK HERE: