Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Storyteller" by Linda Prokop, 2008

"Storyteller" by Linda Prokop, Bronze sculpture, 2008.

In addition to an copious amounts of rain, Oregon sports an abundance and a support for the arts that rivals the most famous US cities. Tualatin, Oregon is no exception to this appreciation. A popular path called the “Art Walk” winds around the city, through the parks, and makes a particular stop at the Tualatin Public Library which displays the freestanding “Storyteller” by Linda Prokop on a round pedestal in its brick entrance.

“Storyteller” is sadly an unremarkable piece for Prokop. The presentation of a gesticulating woman sitting above four eagerly listening children is an uninteresting approach to the topic. While this idea of circular formation storytelling is archetypal and more than likely something we all have experienced, Linda Prokop's skills reach far beyond common approaches such as this.

Prokop's method of bronze sculpture and casting is clear as one approaches “Storyteller”. Each of the five figures' surfaces shows the scrapes, pinches, and manipulations of clay that Prokop's additive sculpting method required. Given it is Prokop's style to have minimal rendering of facial features, the children's faces are all nearly identical and show the same amount of soulless interest. Prokop also acts counter-intuitively to classic focal point placement and sizing with “Storyteller”. In many of her other works she plays quite a bit with scale, but if the Storyteller were to stand up from her stump, she would be roughly the same height as her audience with almost identical features. The largest difference between her and her audience is that her arms are outspread whereas the children sit on the ground in their own tight positions. The lack of variation in height and arguably with expression makes this piece unfortunately more boring than thought-provoking.

“Storyteller”, while rather bland, does not represent of Prokop's portfolio to an adequate degree. The execution of how “Storyteller” speaks very well of Prokop's abilities and methods. While this piece would not be new to a gallery or museum setting, for its purpose, a decoration outside of a public library, it fits its place very well. As a good portion of modern America experiences bewilderment when faced with a sculpting artist like Calder or Brancusi, going for this type of art is a safe move for the Tualatin Public Library.

Links to Linda Prokop's art:
Bronze Coast Gallery

Meyer Gallery

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