Ron Mueck has been my number one top favourite artist since I was shown his Wild Man (2nd pic) back in 2005.
My art teacher introduced me to him and said it was the sort of work she thought I’d like and gave me two books to look at. I poured over those books like they were manna from heaven, I was obsessed. His work just sings to me, each sculpture just takes me to another place.
Wild Man… His curled up toes and toe hairs were what captivated me at first. Then I read things like he punched each hair in individually… I started noticing things like the tiny blue veins and capillaries in his arms. How does someone do that? When I bust out the acrylics it looks so childish in comparison. I found out he uses silicone and resin layered carefully, I watched videos where he painted the inside of the moulds (works of art in themselves) with details, veins, freckles, putting depth in using toxic chemicals! Resin is nasty stuff! Watching videos of Ron Mueck working and reading books about him was where I first learnt about resin and silicone and that took me on a journey in itself.
Something about the sheer mastery and delicate, careful thought and work that is poured into these pieces, something that I can’t articulate, is what draws me so strongly to his work. I have always, always wanted to meet him and was stunned beyond words when my Uncle casually proclaimed he’d met him while working on the Storyteller series. “He’s a great guy, he made me a pig!” he said. I’ve still never met him.
(This is off the top of my head so might not be 100% accurate.) He started out working for Jim Henson making puppets and actually played Ludo, did the voice and character as well as build the suit! He worked on a lot of things for them, meanwhile his girlfriend was doing a residency at the Tate. He was working on his Pinoccio piece and had it in her studio when who should drop by but Saatchi… Who saw the Pinoccio and demanded to know who made it, and promptly worked his Saatchi magic.
Another thing that flung him to the forefront near the beginning was his sculpture Dead Dad. His father died and he took it hard, but working on this tiny intricate hyperrealistic sculpture of his naked dead Dad apparently really helped him move on.
One of the most mystifying things about his work is the scale he chooses. I tried to pick photos that have people in them so you can see… Wild Man was ENORMOUS but he also made these two tiny, tiny old ladies gossiping which was enchanting, and then Man in a Boat which is another of my favourites, and he’s really tiny, but so curious!
I’ve seen an exhibition of his work in Edinburgh which is where I met Wild Man and the old ladies and Man in a Boat and some others… Then I was taken to a mystery exhibition at Belsay by my bf’s family who just told me “I’d like it”, unbeknownst to them it was Ron Mueck’s exhibition, #1 fav artist. I freaked. There was a lot of his newer work there, the giant plucked chicken, the lady with the bundle of sticks… The lady was my favourite, the other pieces didn’t quite have the mystery and effect some of his other work has had on me, but was still technically…. incredible. (understatement)
Well anyway I just thought I’d blog about him a bit because he was my first “mature” inspiration and he popped up on my dash lately mistakenly labelled as Picinnini (another excellent hyperrealistic artist) and it was really nice going through his work again and remembering how it used to make me feel. And I thought I’d share.
That is all.