Relief Plaster Sculpture
Sculpture - Relief Plaster
To understand what relief plaster means you need to look at each term.
Relief is a 3D object that is hung up on a flat wall. Usually, there is both a flat background and dimensional elements, all made from the same material.
Plaster is a building material made when lime or gypsum ore mixed with water and other ingredients to form a substance that starts out wet and flexible but dries and hardens permanently with time.
So a Plaster Relief is any piece of art made by starting with a flat plaster face which mounted on a wall with a three-dimensional image that rises out of the flat plaster face. Plaster is a favourite material for making relief sculptures because it's affordable, relatively easy to work with, and very durable once it’s finished.
Plaster in History
The material known as the plaster has been around for thousands of years, but the exact mixtures used have changed through the ages. It all started when humans first started building mud structures, putting them up when they were wet and letting them harden in the sun.
We can find plasterwork in the great pyramids of Giza, which go back five thousand years at this point. Eventually, the Greeks would learn to use it, and Rome would look to Greek for inspiration as Romans developed their plasterwork style. On any trip to cities like Washington DC or Ottawa with ancient structures, you’ll see plasterwork modelled after the ancient Romans and Greeks. After all, as they created their democracy, the Founding fathers looked to the cultures that had defined the concept for over a thousand years.
Famous Plaster Relief Artists
Unnamed artists created many of the most famous works of relief plaster art. Ancient Egyptian tombs were lined with hieroglyphs sunk into plaster, but the sculptors that made them didn’t sign them. Today one of the more famous artists to work in the medium was Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi. He was a Scottish Surrealist who combined pop culture with his sculpture and paintings to create dreamlike images that reflected the strangeness of modern consumer culture. Today Rachel Dein uses the medium to capture plants in plaster so that they can last forever in wall art.