Working subtractively with relief
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Working Subtractively with Relief. Project #7 CHANGE: relief in plaster. Firstly, what does working subtractively mean?. Relief. Low to high Frontal view Subtractive Materials: wood, stone, marble, clay, cement or plaster

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Working Subtractively with Relief

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Working subtractively with relief

Working Subtractively with Relief

Project #7

CHANGE: relief in plaster

Firstly what does working subtractively mean

Firstly, what does working subtractively mean?



  • Low to high

  • Frontal view

  • Subtractive Materials: wood, stone, marble, clay, cement or plaster

  • Age & location: clay, cave walls in France from 13,000BC to marble temples in India, to Egyptian Tomb Walls from the 11th Dynasty

Sunk relief

Sunk Relief

Pharaoh akhenaten wife nefertiti daughters

Pharaoh Akhenaten & wife Nefertiti & daughters

During the period of Akhenaten – Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt who ruled 17 years until about 1336BC.

Sunk = Linear cutting, mostly used in hieroglyphs & cartouches

Low relief or bas relief

Low Relief or Bas Relief

Low relief coin

Low relief coin

Sestertius of Emperor Pupienus

238 AD

Deux figures by Joseph Csaky

limestone, polychrome, 80cm

Otterlo, Netherlands


Mid relief

Mid Relief

Persian mid relief mezzo rilievo

Persian Mid-Relief (mezzo-rilievo)

Qajar era: 1785-1925

Taneh Savashi, Iran

Gates of paradise by lorenzo ghiberti

Gates of Paradise By Lorenzo Ghiberti

Cast Gilt-Bronze


Baptistery of Florence Cathedral, Florence, Italy

High relief

High Relief

The frieze of parnassus albert memorial

The Frieze of Parnassus, Albert Memorial

169 life-size full-length sculptures of individual artists (painters, poets, musicans, architects, sculptors) from history. In memory of Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. London.

Total length: 210 feet, Date: 1860’s

The frieze of parnassus

The Frieze of Parnassus

Vimal vashi temple

Vimal Vashi Temple

Dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Adinath. Carved out of white marble with interior is gold-brass caste, including main shrine and elaborate columns. Ceiling is engraved with lotus-buds, petals, flowers & scenes from Jain & Hindu mythoology.

Size in feet: 98 long x 42 wide

1032 AD

Working subtractively with relief

Vimal Vashi Temple

Project 7 change relief in plaster

Project #7 CHANGE: relief in plaster

Working subtractively with a plaster mold, embody the concept change.

Consider the word, the idea, and your immediate association with this term.

What does change signify to you . . .

Could change stand for

Could CHANGE stand for:

  • Transformation? (for example: the seasons changing from spring into summer into fall into winter)

  • Money? (pocket change—the left-overs)

  • Politics? (for example: President Obama’s 1st election was slogan was based upon the image of change. Now, during his 2nd term, the opposing party argues American needs another change of direction . . . Same story every 4 years it seems…)

Working subtractively with relief

You are given the freedom to select the interpretation of your choosing. You can take a literal, representational, non-objective, or abstract way of visualizing change.

Whatever imagery and meaning you pursue, the plaster carving must demonstrate an evolution or transformation of sorts. This could be manifested, but not limited to these aspects:

  • TEXTURE – evolving from organic, curvilinear spaces into rigid, geometric spaces

  • IMAGERY – non-objective evolving into representational

  • QUALITY – rough, wide deep cuts that evolve into delicate, smooth surface-based incisions

Working subtractively with relief

You decide how and where and in what abundance you reveal the evolution and transformation of change.

Questions to consider:

-What does change look like?

-What does change feel like?

-What elements lend themselves to being closer to the surface? Further away?

-What type of composition could lead viewers to transformation? (the grid? diagonal shift? radial symmetry? moving from left to right? Top to bottom?)

7 requirments


  • Personal, thoughtful response to CHANGE

  • The work evolves, transforms in more than one manner

  • At least 4 levels of relief

  • Variety of texture

Example visual art images of change

Example visual art images of CHANGE

(images that are REDUCED, can be imagined in RELIEF)

Pray for the peace of jerusalem by dani karavan

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem By Dani Karavan

A bas relief wall installation that covers the back wall of Israel’s Knesset (parliamnet). About 79 feet wide X 23 feet tall.

Working subtractively with relief

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem By Dani Karavan

Working subtractively with relief

Artist William Gordon Huff standing beside his bas-relief that depicts two extinct American lions (Felis atrox) attacking a long-horned species of extinct bison (Bison Latifronts)

Both species are from the Pleistocene of California and their fossils are know from the La Brea tar pits of southerin California.

Huff’s life span: 1903-1993.

Example 3 toned sketch

Example 3-toned Sketch


Still life guitar by jacques lipchitz 1891 1973

Still Life (guitar) by Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973)

Still Life with Musical Instruments

by Jacques Lipchitz

Charcoal on paper

9 ½ x 12 ½”


Material: presumably plaster

Scale: unknown


Left mother and child ink drawing right mother and child bronze sculpture by jacque lipchitz

Left: Mother and Child (ink drawing)Right: Mother and Child (bronze sculpture)by Jacque Lipchitz

Left: Pencil, Indian ink and wash on paper, 1947

Right: Mother and Child, 1949 bronze.

Musical instruments standing relief by jacques lipchitz

Musical Instruments, Standing Reliefby Jacques Lipchitz


About 15 x 19 x 4”


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