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Today is July 15, 2020

The art in sculpture

By Sandra M. Buckley

The art in sculpture

A sculpture is presentation of a dimensional, freestanding form — and there is certainly a distinct art in it.

Acclaimed sculptor Jason Kimes, of Laurel, describes the art form this way: “Sculpture, as an object that exists in the round, means it must be considered from all points of view — rather than a painting or drawing, which is only viewed directly from one perspective.”

As a child, Kimes understood that creating and visual arts were a part of who he was and who he would become. It was this interest that led him on a direct path to earn an undergraduate degree in sculpture and a Master’s of Fine Art in sculpture from the University of Southern Mississippi.

His preferred material to work with is metal — particularly steel. “Steel attracted me due to its permanence; wood and stone can be permanent too, but steel is more malleable and therefore has more options for how it can be shaped and formed,” he explained.

His sculptures have evolved into mostly large-scale, which best fits into public settings outdoors. “I have an enormous interest in reaching everyday people who aren’t likely to visit a gallery or museum, but who could easily come into contact with an artwork in a public setting,” he said. “Large-scale work reframes the relationship between the viewer and the sculpture. A viewer looking down onto a small painting or sculpture sees it in a different way than a viewer looking up at a larger artwork. Such a simple reversing of the scale relationship can have huge effects on how one interprets or understands a work of art.”

Kimes also appreciates that portraying elements of the human body creates an instinctual understanding from the spectator. “I think seeing a relatable form creates a natural connection with viewers by seeing something so easily recognizable,” he said, sharing that a recent example is his intricate design of a hand comprised of more than 4,000 pieces of steel he cut out and welded in place.

His work and talent have been heralded in national arts publications and on display around the country. “Much of my public work has been shown and collected in New Orleans, but I’ve sold sculptures to collectors as far away as California and have a gallery in Canada, showing my work internationally,” he said, adding that his sculptures are on display in Chattanooga and he has an upcoming exhibit at Georgia Tech.

Locally, three of his sculptures are displayed in downtown Hattiesburg. “Although Laurel doesn’t yet have one of my sculptures on permanent display, I’ve been able to install the last few sculptures downtown before they were taken to their final destinations,” he said. “It’s been great to share the work with the people of Laurel, even temporarily.”

Kimes, his wife and their four young children enjoy spending family time at home on their 4 acres in Jones County. His studio is also on the property, which he describes as an older, 1,800 square-foot wood frame building. “Doing so much metalwork, the majority of the shop is used for welding, grinding, milling and even casting,” he said. “I have a small area for wood tools that are used for making crates, pallets and small wood projects. I removed a rafter to fit a large steel gantry I use to lift finished sculptures enough to get a trailer under, several of them weighing almost 5,000 pounds. I have a forklift that’s over 40 years old and is great for moving things around the property, but doesn’t take the place of my dream of a bridge crane someday.”

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