After spending a lazy Saturday afternoon savouring a cappuccino at my favorite local coffee shop, I wandered across the street attracted by a painted bronze sculpture in the window. The naked female figure had been captured in a moment of ecstasy with her head thrown back and her arms reaching skywards.
Intrigued, I made my way inside and found the artist himself sitting at a huge, shiny redwood desk in the entrance of a small gallery.
He was slim, with graying hair and stood as soon as I walked in, eager to have someone to talk to about his work.
Though Blake Ward was raised in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada, he now lives and works in southern France.
His sculptures are created out of marble — sanded so soft it feels like actual skin — from Carrera and bronze from the south of Italy that is heated so it can be twisted to create movement.
I was immediately attracted to the sculptures that he referred to as his "angels". They were created with layers of oxidized bronze and are an examination of the interior of the human body, both figuratively and literally.
As we walked through the gallery together, I was shocked when he reached out and touched the sculptures as he explained their various elements to me. Seeing my surprise he smiled and encouraged me to do the same, explaining that he wanted viewers to interact with the work.
Fighting every instinct, I reached out and ran my palm down the back of a nude female bust, feeling the cold marble beneath my fingers.
Ward explained that he uses his art to comment on issues related to human rights, to deconstruct the human body, and to explore the concept of idealized beauty.
Walking through the gallery with him it was hard not to notice the influence that the great Renaissance sculptor, Michelangelo, has had on his process.
I stayed long past closing time, excited to have the rare opportunity to talk to the creator of such beautiful sculpture. With no chance of taking the work home (his sculptures sell from $12,000-$40,000), Ward was kind enough to give me a copy of his portfolio, which I have been lusting over ever since.
For more information on other exhibitions (he has them all over the world) check out his website.