Alan Osborne

Alan OsborneThe work of Sacramento artist and sculptor Alan Osborne includes a variety of media. Many know him as a bronze sculptor who Exvotos enamelcreates mid-sized and large abstract work using arcs, planes and linear features ?nished with exceptional patinas. Alan Osborne has been a practicing artist for over thirty years. Working first with clay as his sculptural medium, he quickly moved to bronze. He, like many lifelong artists – most notably his friend the late Peter Voulkos – notes the captivating moment when he discovered the enticement and reward of his medium.
For Osborne this artistic clarity came as a twenty-year-old apprentice toRubic enamel Tom Joy at Riverdog Foundry in Washington. Artist and Sacramento State University professor, Gerald Walburg notes that Osborne’s “…honesty with the materials and how that in?uences the forms and the process…” de?nes Alan Osborne’s art work. Walburg further explains, “This spontaneity is a constant in Osborne’s monotypes, enamels and bronze sculptures.”
A signature technique of the artist is his cut/tear construction during the wax forming stage of the bronze casting process. The torn wax planes with their rough edges and handled surfaces are evident in his ?nal bronze pieces. Alan has been a feature in the Sacramento Art Community for some years.
As well as creating sculptures, both large and small – including 2 big public installations – Alan works in enamels, plus was the brains behind the Art Foundry Gallery in downtown Sacramento. Two notable public installations in the region have been the Sunrise light rail station, and his huge 21 foot tall sculpture “Ascending” at 1202 K Street, Sacramento. However, Alan’s commissions aren’t limited to the Sacramento area, with other notable pieces at the Oakland Museum and at the government buildings of the South Pacific Island nation of Samoa. Alan traces his artistic desires back to a schoolboy crush on a fifth-grade teacher with a blowtorch. Her hobby was making enameled jewelry, and she taught the craft to her students. And he still continues the love affair with enamels, producing works with vivid and bold colors, both large and small. For nearly ten years, Alan has been exploring the artistic use of vitreous enamels, creating a body of work that runs parallel with his bronze forms. Though distinctly different in scale and purpose, his sculptures are composed of arcs and thrusts and have a direct gestural link to his smaller works of enamel on copper plates. While his sculptural practice remains central to his work, he has expanded his artistic scope with a focus on heated colored glass on metal, gaining assurance and success in both pursuits.
His Studio is in a low-lying, historic brick building in Sacramento. It is where he creates colorful, light-reflective enamel paintings that are frequently incorporated into site-specific public and private commissions. The studio houses a minimum of four enamel kilns of varying size, large tables covered with work in various stages of completion, some sculpting wax related to his three-dimensional bronze pieces. This is where he is exploring the possibilities of adding vitreous enamel on copper to brass elements. Every artist’s completed work represents uncounted hours of time in the studio. His public pieces result from hours, days, months, and sometimes years of art practice, during which new ideas and materials lend themselves to experimentation and redress. Over the past three years, as he further explored the enamel-painting medium, his inquiry included experimental heat build-up and reduction of enamel on the metal surface, as he pushed for more visually impactful work via increased scale. Some pieces incorporate thick and drippy enamel, while others display a selective coating, creating hard-surfaced, expressionistic paintings.
Engraved linear figures, first seen in small-scale pieces, also have been reformed into large-scale ethereal bronze relief. Though these are not enamel pieces outright, they illustrate an evolution in the use of bronze, where the development of tall, thin form intermingles the ideas of sculpture and enameling. Over the course of the last eight years, he has received public and private commissions for both his enamels and bronze sculpture. Sun on the Rise, 2007 is a response to a competitive public art project supported by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. Located at the Citrus Heights Station, The 18-foot archway and the companion freestanding sculpture shows his preference for assembled gestural form, retaining a consistency of style recognizable in all his varied types of work. One installed commission, called Ascending, 2010, is located in the lobby of a midtown Sacramento office building that is nearly encircled by glass. The project was begun in June 2009 and completed in October 2010. This large work and its strategic urban placement show the ability to create a commanding sculpture that synchronizes with its environment, without compromising the setting or art piece. At 21 feet in height, this assembled bronze piece celebrates three-dimensional expression through gestural forms and arcs that are the larger siblings to the delicate features found in his enamel paintings. The subtle patina of colors, revealed throughout the day by sunlight moving through the space, enlivens the otherwise static environment. True to the commission and design, bronze metal blades stretch skyward, creating an expressionistic sweep that balances form as it offers framed city views through structural voids.
This installation is a successful resolution to the challenge of integrating a large piece of sculpture into a busy, predetermined public space where people circulate throughout the day. he will continue to make large-scale bronze sculptures evoking a sense of vitality and subtlety. He will continue to explore the marriage of vitreous enamel paintings on copper which often are displayed in a more intimate setting. As is the practice of many artists, duality keeps our work fresh and pertinent. His expressionist enamel paintings and large-scale bronze sculpture inform each other aesthetically, creating a coherence to his entire body of artwork in the unique genre of enamels and the commanding arena of bronze.

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