|Critics have observed of this unique sculpture, "All that's missing is the pulse," and in the words of senior curator Lou Zona, of the Butler Institute of American Art, Sijan "truly breathes realism into his sculptures." Accolades aside, ultimately it is the remarkable human response to Marc Sijan‘s cast works that persuades the public to continue their enthusiastic fascination and appreciation with a familiar subject that seems impossible to recreate and unbelievable to ponder. Sijan continues to take us on a fascinating journey of recognizable life-size subjects that amazingly turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. The creations of Marc Sijan have been selected for the Prestigious International Contemporary Figurative Museum in Evola, Portugal. The largest most important and only museum of its kind in the world.
Marc Sijan is following the creative primal compulsion of humankind to create images that reflect a respectful perspective on themselves, a practice that began over 17,000 years ago when man decided to sketch his own image on the walls of caves in southern France, resulting in some of the most remarkable art ever conceived. Even Picasso was impressed, observing that this was the beginning of the development of recreating the figure although on flat three dimensional surfaces.
These instincts continued to develop over thousands of years, until the skills of drawing and painting were finally harnessed and put down on woven material or Pompeian plaster walls. But it was a true adventurer who took up the challenge of re-creating the human form in a recognizable, three-dimensional context. Thin, figure-like sculptures were likely first fashioned out of tree branches tied together with palm twine and mud. At first, these somewhat recognizable forms were probably produced from rough timber as totems and decorative architectural details. The final designs were necessarily abstract, as sharp, stone cut geometric lines had to be a substitute for the more refined features and shapes that primitive artisans wanted to employ, but did not have the tools or the experience and maturity to create something moderately realistic.
As societies became more sophisticated and the craft movement went beyond utilitarian objects, the refinement of recreating an artificial body finally took shape. Thousands of dusty figures have been found in Egyptian caves, offering further evidence that mankind has had an intuitive and spiritual motivation for duplicating symbols of themselves for thousands of years. Later, the Greeks and Romans took advantage of past experiments and refined their abilities to create extraordinary works, often chiseled from marble blocks and polished to perfection. Modern artists who studied these great leaps forward in constructing objects that were even more sophisticated than their predecessors, began to search beyond acceptable practices in bronze and marble through high levels of ingenious experiments that would bring a super rich realism imagery to mainstream contemporary art. A handful of sculptors took up this seemly impossible task by exploring the advantages of new materials that were far from the original lump of clay described in biblical terms to create the first hard body. These pioneers in the late 1960s discovered a new synthetic material that could be cast directly from the figure to produce a genuine illusion of body and soul, complete with prosthetic eyes and dressed to the tee in ordinary clothes. Hyper-realism came into vogue in the 1970s with curious works by Duane Hanson, whose recreations of everyday people were in a class oftheir own. Artist John DeAndrea took the process a step further by recreating figures in their natural state without the advantage of covering the body with clothing. Now, sculptor Marc Sijan, who has been pursuing this discipline for over thirty years and often shared production and finishing techniques in Hanson‚s studio, is arguably one of the most successful and innovative artists working in America today. His work, which is steeped in a well-conceived multitasking foundation that is cast and intricately painted with multiple layers of flesh-colored paint, has brought hyper-illusion as another aesthetic component into modern figurative sculpture that is celebrated in numerous museum and gallery exhibitions around the world, from Denver to Dubai.
The difficult variety of technical steps that have been painstakingly developed during the artist‘s illustrious career, permanently positions the artist not only as a visionary, but as a technical wizard who keeps his studio trade secrets to himself. As the artist is arguably at the very height of his career, having mastered one of the most technical challenging casting techniques imaginable for sculpture, Mr. Sijan is free to explore comfortably the limitless dimensions of his subject matter. This artist is the consummate observer of life in the most challenging of realist traditions. The complete opposite of man's early attempts at recreating the human image no matter how primitive, Sijan produces the most magical three-dimensional profiles imaginable, which if placed retroactively in the aforementioned caves of southern France would no doubt have primitive "bug-eyed" man running in the opposite direction without ever looking back.
A natural by product of Sijan‘s realistic sculpture not surprisingly is the intense curiosity generated by the viewing public. As an internationally renowned American hyper-realist artist with over fifty one-man museum exhibitions, he continues to set attendance records whenever he exhibits his work. His most recent international show in Dubai, U.A.E., to an audience not accustomed to his work drew huge crowds, including high ranking government officials and world leaders, from the Prime Minister of Great Britain to the former Mayor of New York City, and was featured in numerous Mid-Eastern newspapers, magazines and on television in the Arabic language.