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 Richard MacDonald  (1946 - )

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: figurative bronze sculpture, monuments, painting, illustration

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Richard MacDonald
An example of work by Richard MacDonald
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Richard MacDonald creates bronze sculptures, which show the power, grace and beauty of athletes, ballerinas, mimes and nymphs.

Born in California, MacDonald was enrolled as a painter at Art Center School of Design in Pasadena, where he developed his penchant for the human form. The use of athletic musculature underneath skin and clothes earned a name as an accomplished illustrator; his placements are in the NFL and NBA Halls of Fame and the National Art Museum of Sport.

From the two-dimensional surface of the drawing board to the three-dimensional, kinetic feel of clay, the artist evolved. Exploring the same musculature, now in three dimensions, that he used in his two dimensional works. He found them taking on an almost weightless feel. Once translated into bronze these works took on a dimension even he didn't expect, permanence.

MacDonald recently gained recognition for sculpting Flair Across America, a monumental 26-foot tall bronze installed in Centennial Park, Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic Games. The Flair celebrates the tenacity involved in the pursuit of excellence while promoting an appreciation for the arts within diverse communities.

The trek that the artist embarked on brought this monument from his studio in California across the United States, stopping in cities to educate people on the importance of figurative art in today's society. The model for Flair was Kurt Thomas, the athlete who popularized the "flair" move in Olympic competition. Of this work it was written: "It single-handedly brought figurative monumental sculpture back into the American art scene that one saw it as too sentimental. Too moving to be art."

Reed Van Horth, Robin Rile Fine Art

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A sculptor of realist figures, many of them engaged in sporting, Richard MacDonald is a resident of California where he has many pieces installed including a 15-foot monumental work for the Pebble Beach, California, Golf Resort to commemorate the history of that place.

In 2001, MacDonald was commissioned by the Mayor's Office of San Francisco to create an official bronze sculpture of Mayor Willie Brown, which will have it's unveiling later this year.

'Composing' is how Richard MacDonald describes the artistic process he takes when creating his bronzes. It's the exploration of spirit, beauty and form, similar to the process a concert pianist takes when laboring over notes, that drives MacDonald to further delve into the spirit of his subjects. Whether it be a dancer, mime, or athlete, his passion for his work is demonstrated in how he celebrates both the realism and expressive potential of sculpture.

The convergence of these elements is well exemplified in MacDonald's Flair Across America bronze monument. Depicting a male gymnast in motion upon a symbolic ring, created especially for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the 22-foot epic bronze sculpture was paraded across the United States in celebration of perpetual integrity and the universal belief in the unity of mankind and the hope that world harmony is within man's grasp.

Lisa Crawford Watson, "Richard MacDonald", Southwest Art, 7/1997

Biography from
Richard MacDonald (born 1946) is a California-based contemporary figurative artist known for his bronze sculptures.

Educated in painting and illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, MacDonald was successful as a commercial illustrator until his late thirties when a fire destroyed his studio, along with the accumulated works of his career as painter and illustrator. Subsequently, he began sculpting in earnest and within ten years was succeeding as a figurative sculptor.

His work has been acquired for the permanent collections of corporations including AT&T, IBM and Anheuser-Busch, as well as notable private collections. His work has been described as "paying tribute to the eloquence of the human form." He is an advocate of neo-realism and figurative art, and has fostered emerging and professional artists through annual international Masters Workshops.

MacDonald's work portrays "the beauty of the human body and the spirit that drives it." He works consistently with models throughout the process of creating a sculpture, often celebrated dancers, performers, and athletes. MacDonald draws and sculpts his subjects over and over, often requiring models to repeat a specific dance move or spontaneous gesture. This may include small, quick sketches in an oil-base plasticine clay that are refined and enlarged. A mold is used to create editions in bronze through the "lost wax" technique.

For each of MacDonald's work he creates the final patina or surface coloration that is subsequently duplicated by the patina artists on his staff for the remainder of the edition. The final patinated bronze is affixed to a marble base, also designed and selected by the artist as part of the overall sculptural composition.

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