KATHRYN EARNHART | The Butlers Shockingly real sculptures of everyday people

The Butler Institute of American Art's exhibition of the work of Mark Sijan continues to cause a sensation as museum visitors express surprise, delight, shock and admiration for the artist's ultrarealistic sculpture.
Sijan, a Milwaukee based artist, realistically depicts the human form in modern terms, paying homage to everyday people engaged in mundane activity. A sleepy security guard, a female body builder, an express checkout shopper and a minor league baseball player are just a few of the subjects chosen by the artist for his work, which has been favorably compared to the master of this sculpture genre, Duane Hansen.
Awesome in technical detail and expressive as commentary on our contemporary society, Sijan's work is both humorous and thought provoking.
Sijan's method of producing a negative mold from a live model is not new, but his refinement of the technique is unprecedented.
An orthopedic surgeon who visited the Butler recently commented on the incredible accuracy of the appearance of the weight bearing muscles of the figures created by Sijan.
Equally as impressive is the detail seen in the skin, nails and eyes of these figures -- an accuracy achieved by the artist's use of precision tools and a magnifying glass.
Children touring the Butler have been captivated by the Sijan exhibition, and several have been observed innocently engaged in conversation with these engaging works of art.
Adults have also been unwittingly fooled by these figures.
The sculpture exhibition, which continues through June 10, was organized by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services of Kansas City.
Art tour: There is still time to reserve for the Butler's annual New York City art tour set for Oct. 10-14. This year's Butler New York City tour, with museum director Louis Zona as host, includes one night in the Hamptons and a visit to the Long Island residence and studio of 20th century abstract painter Jackson Pollock.
Pollock's life and work were recently chronicled by actor/director Ed Harris in the award winning film "Pollock."
The trip moves from the Hamptons to New York City for Zona's personal tour of the Whitney Museum of American Art and that museum's much heralded reinstallation of its magnificent collection.
Behind-the-scenes visits to noted galleries, including the famous Nancy Hoffman Gallery in Soho, as well as a trip to sculptor Don Gummer's new Manhattan studio are also included in this once-in-a-lifetime tour.
Great food, shopping and superb accommodations are included in this fall trip organized exclusively for the Butler by Burger Travel of Youngstown. For information and a complete itinerary call (330) 744-5035.
Women's show: Today is the last day to view an exhibit of the Youngstown YWCA's 20th annual women's show, which features works by regional artists in all media.
This exhibition, traditionally displayed at the YWCA's Rayen Street facility, titled "Women Artist's: A Celebration," was judged by Laura Vinnedge, assistant professor of the Myers School of Art at the University of Akron.
Impressive quilts by Cheryl Eddie Deible, pottery by Mary Maxwell, and a painting by Marie Dippolito are not to be missed in this elegant show.
The American Visions saga, with Time magazine art critic Robert Hughes as host, continues Wednesday with "The Wilderness West." This one-hour episode presents artists of the American landscape, the Hudson Rivers School of painters -- a group that includes Thomas Cole, Frederick Church, John James Audubon, Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt.
Works by all of these artists are included in the Butler's collection.
Also featured is Hughes' trip to South Dakota to view the colossal sculpture of American Indian leader Crazy Horse by Korczak Ziolkowski.
Other American Visions chapters will be seen in the Butler's Zona Auditorium at 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays through June 27. The series is courtesy of PBS 45/49.
XButler hours in Youngstown are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; and noon to 4 p.m Sunday. Butler hours at the Trumbull branch are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Butler Salem hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Admission to all three facilities is free.

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