Buying bronze art is a very particular type of art patronage. It requires a mind which is not looking, necessarily, to be seduced by obvious colour. It requires an eye for the subtleties of form and composition, rather than for the more immediately available content given by a two dimensional picture made up of brushstrokes and lines, which can be seen all at a glance. The bronze art buyer is willing to work a little harder, maybe. Since, this is what is required when learning to love a piece of art which may look better from one angle, as opposed to from another. The lover of bronze sculpture must have an appreciation of, even reverence for, the medium itself. Because, unlike the mediums of paint and canvas or ink and paper, bronze is a material which demands respect and understanding from the viewer. The intricate story of casting a bronze sculpture is so deeply written into civilized history, both of the east and west, that it is impossible to ignore its status. Bronze art, more than any other art form, has been responsible for capturing and documenting the actions of society and individuals. And it has executed this task for both public and private consumption. It is, therefore, I believe, not too far flung to insist that the medium of portrayal becomes, in the case of bronze sculpture, part of the subject matter. The composition becomes part of the story.
There is an old debate about art. The reason for this debate is more than likely due to the fact that art falls within that most controversial of categories: aesthetics. The one camp insists that there are universal standards by which to characterise art and the other insists that the standards will always remain personal and subjective. Furthermore, the debate deepens and becomes, therefore, more interesting when the notions of “art” and “beauty” collapse into each other. This they should not, of course. Yet, maybe there are objective standards for what art is: Such as it must be made by an artist, it must be either painting or sculpture or it must exist in the mediums of paint on canvas, carved marble or the ever beauteous and precious medium of bronze. But are there such standards for “beauty” itself? Maybe the objective standards for beauty have to do with symmetry, with certain classical rules in composition or with adhering to the formal rules of colour combination. The point really needs to be, in order to settle the debate, that the pursuit of universal standards for either art of beauty requires forever more sets of standards to justify the previous set. In other words: What defines an artist, why marble and not wood or why symmetry and not asymmetry? These are legitimate questions. It seems the subjectivist wins the debate. But maybe he has not won because he has given a better argument, but rather because the objectivist cannot substantiate his argument without an infinite regress. So, it becomes a victory be default. Like a sort of second place. And there is a philosophical tragedy inherent in such victories. Yet a solution seems a far off dream.