Among contemporary sculptors working with wire mesh, Eric Boyer stands out for the beauty of his male and female figures and for the sophistication with which he explores a medium that consists as much in open, empty space as in the solid strands that contain it.
Boyer’s most characteristic work is clearly reminiscent of classical Greek or Roman sculpture, but always seen as incomplete relics of an original glory, monuments to ideal or heroic beauty that survive only in fragments. With his faceless torsos, Boyer evokes images that come to us already tinged with a sense of loss; beauty is both eternal and fleeting.
Molding sheets of steel or copper mesh by hand, Boyer coaxes hard metal to behave as if it were a length of delicate, diaphanous fabric draped over human forms, clinging to the curves and undulations it defines.
And exquisite human forms these are, so lovely it is easy to imagine figures behind the fabric. As Boyer works the mesh, he creates a play of light and shade that gives his images a sense of volume and luminous substance. At the same time, he typically includes little flourishes of fabric -- gatherings at the feet or scrolls and folds along the edges -- as if to remind us that we are not viewing traditional representations of nude figures, or even veiled nudes. Boyer gives us the veil itself, the veil and the almost ghostly impression it preserves. We are left with something midway between the memory of a beautiful image and the image of a beautiful memory.
Which is very much as the artist first conceives them.
Boyer does not work from live models. Instead, he draws upon what he calls a visual and tactile memory bank built up through years of anatomical study, life drawing, and portraiture. His figures thus originate as half-remembered, half-imagined images of physical beauty, and these are the images he conjures up for us: sensuous, elegant and haunting.