At ArtCatto, you will find incredible sculptures created by artists who find inspiration in various sources
For almost as long as Man has existed so have sculptures. From small utensils to handmade figures of animals, people and religious icons, it is an artform that is intrinsic to humanity. From the pre-historic Venus figures to Michelangelo’s David and Rodin’s The Thinker, sculpture has evolved over the eons and serves as a testimony of our own evolution.
Partnering with some of the most interesting sculptors of today, ArtCatto gallery, in Loulé, has on display a wide range of works created by artists from all over the world.
One such sculptor is Luo Li Rong. Born in Hunan, China, she attended the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing, where she studied ceramics and sculpture. Now living in Europe, she has gained recognition for her fine work of figures in motion.
Working primarily with bronze, her sculptures are inspired by Renaissance art and contemporary Chinese culture. The highly detailed, fluid drapery appears to cling to the skin of the figures as if wet whilst simultaneously embracing and surrounding them. Using Renaissance and Baroque techniques, Luo Li Rong smelts and chisels her life-sized figures to perfect the body shapes, and later applies a layer of white patina and blowtorches it to bring out the transparency of the ‘fabric’.
Her work, which has been displayed all over the world and is part of many private collections, is reminiscent of the Old Masters, conveying the beauty of the human figure showcased by the women she depicts in various poses, almost mid-dance.
Also on display at ArtCatto are the works of Portuguese artists Rogério Timóteo, a resounding name in the national art scene, who, like Luo Li Rong, creates dynamic human figures. His preferred medium is marble, influenced by his hometown of Anços, in Sintra, a region known for this material, although he also uses bronze and resin.
Passionate about art since childhood, he studied under Anjos Teixeira, one of Portugal’s most renowned sculptors, and studied drawing at Lisbon’s Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, a cultural association dedicated to promoting art. Inspired by the human body and its endless expressions, Rogério Timóteo carves his subjects’ emotions in such detail that the viewer has no choice but to feel them too – from his depiction of Icarus, with his arms spread wide, to his Homo Mundi, with a man in a foetal position, where, even if you cannot see his face, his emotions shine through.
His work has been displayed in more than 40 solo exhibitions and in over 300 collective shows in Portugal and abroad, as well as featuring in many private collections. He also has several large installations in the streets of Portugal, mainly in Sintra.
Following a more abstract perspective, the works of Georg Scheele explore the vastness of space. His stonework flows and entwines along itself, curving graciously into shapes that should not be possible.
Born in Germany but living in Monchique, in the Algarve, he studied as a stonemason in Carrara, Italy, renowned for its marble, which naturally became his favourite medium (although he also works with bronze sometimes).
Georg Scheele began showing his work in Portugal in the 1990s, and, despite a few setbacks such as partially losing his vision, his work has only evolved and improved over the years. He makes everything by hand himself, which means production is limited, but he has showcased his work in exhibitions and does take commissions.
Despite working with a hard medium, there is sense of lightness and fluidity to his pieces, tightly controlled yet free somehow, which he says represent “a constant questioning and sifting until one’s own being is reflected in all its purity and clarity in the form”.
Fellow German Lucas Hamann, who moved to Portugal as a child, uses his work to explore nature. A Medical Doctor, he turned to sculpture not only as a way of meditation and peacefulness but also as a distraction from the medical field, finding a balance between imaginative expression and objective thinking.
The essence of his work correlates to what he was most impressed by as a child – the calming, elegant ways and life cycle of nature. His work is made from wood he sources from trees that have been felled and left to rot, including ancient olive trees and Algarvian almond trees.
He believes the purpose of his artwork lays in finding a way to embrace and preserve the natural beauty of a long-dead tree, keeping and respecting its essence – taking something that has been dead and decaying for years and creating something that feels alive and dynamic.