Alan Osborne - Personal Statement


For nearly ten years, I have been exploring the artistic use of vitreous enamels, creating a body of work that runs parallel with my bronze forms. Though distinctly different in scale and purpose, my sculptures are composed of arcs and thrusts and have a direct gestural link to my smaller works of enamel on copper plates. While my sculptural practice remains central to my work, I have expanded my artistic scope with a focus on heated colored glass on metal, gaining assurance and success in both pursuits.

Alan Osborne in his studio welding a scupltureMy Studio is in a low-lying, historic brick building in Sacramento. It is where I create 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 my three-dimensional bronze pieces. This is where I am 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. My 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 I further explored the enamel-painting medium, my inquiry included experimental heat build-up and reduction of enamel on the metal surface, as I 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, I have received public and private commissions for both my 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 my preference for assembled gestural form, retaining a consistency of style recognizable in all my varied types of work.


Ascending - sculpture by Alan OsborneOne 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 my 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.


I will continue to make large-scale bronze sculptures evoking a sense of vitality and subtlety. I 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. My expressionist enamel paintings and large-scale bronze sculpture inform each other aesthetically, creating a coherence to my entire body of artwork in the unique genre of enamels and the commanding arena of bronze.