Subject: Transforming everyday objects
Activity: Create a clay sculpture that depicts an everyday object
Materials: An object of student’s choice, modeling clay
Vocabulary: aviation, conceptually based, consciousness, dynamic energy, topography
Born in Indiana, Bryan Hunt attended the University of South Florida with the intention of becoming an architect but soon found that he was more intrigued by painting. From 1967 to 1968 he worked as a technical assistant at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. This brief interlude sparked his interest in aviation and technology. Hunt did a series of sculptures based on aviation and then on topography in his Lakes and Waterfalls series. The dynamic energy of these sculptures carried over into what would become Hunt’s main interest in the 1980s: motifs from classical Greek art and culture.
An amphora is a type of ceramic vessel used in the ancient Mediterranean for transportation and storage of oil, wine, and other commodities. High quality, painted amphorae were given as prizes for athletic competitions and also served funerary purposes in ancient Greece.
Why do you think Hunt made Amphora in this shape instead of rounded like an actual amphora?
How do you think Hunt’s interest in lakes and waterfalls might have influenced this piece? What about his interest in aviation?
How is the material that Hunt used for Amphora different from the material used for the classical amphora?
Do you think Hunt’s Amphora has the same function as the classical Greek amphora? Why or why not?
Find a picture of an ancient Greek amphora. Think about how Hunt’s Amphora is different and/ or similar. Then choose a common object (something that we use every day, such as a hair brush, a coffee mug, a shoe, etc.) to depict in clay. Change its volume, texture, and slightly change its shape. What happens when you make a useful everyday object not useful?
Hunt’s sculptures in the early 1970s were architectural models of famous landmark structures, such as the Hoover Dam and the Empire State Building.
Hunt uses limestone to create pedestals—which resemble columns and capitals—for his sculptures. He chose limestone for its neutral surface and to evoke classical art and architecture.
During the modern period, some artists have rejected the use of pedestals, while others have embraced it. What are some of the advantages of setting a sculpture on a pedestal? What are the disadvantages? Hunt does not make pedestals for his largest sculptures. Why not?
Aviation - airplane design, development, manufacture, and use
Conceptually based - based on concepts or thoughts
Consciousness - the state of being aware, especially of something within yourself
Dynamic Energy - energetic movement or vitality
Topography - the practice of creating detailed images on maps or charts that show natural and man-made features of a place, often indicating positions and elevations