Artist Statement

Hmmn, an Artist Statement.

My aim is to free marble sculpture from the cloak of heavy, dead weight.

It is my opinion that, due to the excessive heaviness of traditional marble sculpture, this beautiful and ancient medium has found itself sidelined from  mainstream of art.  Think marble: think heavy, because it is.  But one glance at the information box, located on each of my sculpture’s Home Page, will immediately dispel such ideas.   Generally, as a confirmed Reductionist, if I myself am unable to carry a finished piece out of the workshop, then my work is not done!  I may from time to time call upon the help of an assistant, but as you view my work you may wish to take this into account.  No need for block and tackle, workmen and floor coverings, when ‘installing’ my Collection Series Marble Sculpture.  For the most part, you (anyone able to cradle a small child) should be quite able to pick up and carry my Curvilinear Sculpture, and even the larger pieces only require two strong, coordinated, men in order to be set practically anywhere.  Much as I do love and admire bulky traditional marble sculpture, it is my firm conviction that the incredible bulk associated with the medium has proved an almost insurmountable barrier when it comes to full incorporation into the established art market.   And so, may I present my 21st Century Marble Sculpture;  or, marble seen for the first time in a whole new light.


In removing the bulk of material from a block of marble I am able to produce carvings that weigh a fraction of the mass while maintaining an exterior dimension matching that of traditional sculpture.   And while this may appear at first glance to be a frivolous consideration this mobility of movement sets the sculpture free and serves to integrate it into the home environment.

Not only is the relative lightness and ease of movement of my Curvilinear sculpture advantageous; by carving the marble so thin the very nature of the sculpture is transformed as light is transmitted through the stone, often causing it to be illuminated from within, allowing the subtle hues within the marble to flair under both natural and man-made light (even candlelight), an aspect of marble that prior to Reductionism has never previously been seen before.  Never before has marble sculpture taken its place alongside similar-sized artwork.  For marble weighs in at around 150 to 60 lbs per cubic foot, and so you might want to think about that the next time you find yourself staring at a ‘traditional’ marble carving – even pieces with similar exterior dimensions of my “Carved for Full Immersion in the Real World” Collection Series Marble Sculpture.

In order to create my Curvilinear Reductionist sculpture I rely on recent advances in diamond blade and abrasive disc technology that together present a whole raft of options quite unimaginable to previous generations of sculptors.   The latest developments in hand-held diamond blade and spinner pad technology now enables a me to routinely remove 80 or 90 percent of the original material with a speed that would have made Rodin’s head spin!  Yes, that means that 80 to 90 percent of the marble that I carve is available to go straight back to the marble processing industry – my share represents a mere 20 percent or so.   Which is why I boast that whatever color my sculpture may appear, and whichever hue may glimpsed,  I’d say that when all things considered – proximity to the quarry, etc., my Colorado Yule Marble Sculpture’s environmental credentials are decidedly Green.

As a Direct Method carver,  and a Reductionist at that,  I do not use maquettes (scale models), a s I do not set out to rigidly impose my will upon a block of marble,  but actually pursue a collaboration with the stone.   The finished sculpture will therefore hinge on a variety of factors,  such as the grain, the texture,  and the unique characteristics of that particular piece of stone.    But perhaps the crucial element employed by my particular technique is the splitting process that I often use in order to shape the rough block.    Far from reducing this ancient art to the task of merely prying huge blocks of stone apart, I consider this to be the first crucial step in a process defined by many such stages; roughing out, shaping, primary (machine) finish, and final (hand) finish.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that all my sculpture presented here at has been created entirely by my own hands, and that each Curvilinear sculpture is engraved with its Serial Number, along with my ‘Mark’, usually on the underside of the base.

Thanks for your time.

Martin Cooney in the Sculpture Garden, Woody Creek, CO