I’ve received quite a few emails about a photograph of an installation of bronze bathers in the Hartley Mason Park in my hometown of York Harbor in a post from about a month ago, and I’ve been thinking (and looking) at those figures quite a bit myself. Here are a few more images as a reminder.
One of the reasons I’ve been thinking about these little figures is that I neglected to mention the artist, Sumner Weinbaum, who has been active in the Seacoast arts scene for some time. Another reason is that they remind me of a photograph I purchased about a decade ago of another little bronze figure, placed on a McIntire fence here in Salem. The artist (who was local and whose name I cannot remember! It is nowhere to be found on the photograph; if anyone knows please tell me) cast the figure, took the photograph, and (of course) made the placement. Here’s an image, not very good, because it is a photograph of a photograph.
There’s something about really small human figures placed in real-sized settings that is quite captivating. I like the York Harbor bathers both because they are small and active, engaged in familiar human activities, but the little Salem figure (not quite as detailed) also look alive even though he’s not doing anything. This piece is also interesting because it’s kind of the reverse of the Renaissance man-is-the-measure-of-all-things ideal.
Two London-based artists have really run with the little-people-in-a-big-world theme. An anonymous artist who goes by the name of Slinkachu creates images of sequenced street scenarios with the miniature figures used in architectural models, and Isaac Cordal places his cement street figures on streets all over Europe. Here is a sample of Slinkachu’s work entitled Boys Own Adventures; you can find lots more at The Little People Project (Abandoning little people on the streets since 2006).
Cordal’s work has a strong environmental theme, as illustrated by these images (Remembrances from Nature) from his recent book, Cement Eclipses: Small Interventions in the Big City.