The Terrestrial Forum
“Bronze resonates energy.”
The Terrestrial Forum sizzles with an alive electrical charge. Indeed, the Terrestrial Forum reaches across geological phenomena evoking energies that infuse humankind, the planet, and the larger cosmos. In these works, Snowden shapes a group of interrelated titans that enlarge our perception of the natural world.
Winner of the International Rodin Competition in Tokyo, Japan, Cataclasis Study forges the central vision of the sculptor’s landmark collection, the Geological Coreium. Celebrating forces that galvanize humankind and the cosmos, the bronze study scale of Cataclasis exudes three elemental states of energy: the Latent, the Emerging and the Active. The sculptor in concert with contemporary geological science, increasingly views planet earth as a living organism, with its rock and soil structures following the same aging patterns as biological/human life forms. In this bristling small-scale study, the grand macrocosm of planetary energy is conveyed in microcosm. Moving counter-clockwise, Latent generates old age, Active embraces middle age, and the Emerging element equates to youth. In 1989, Snowden invented the specialized foundry wax that has enabled the complex casting of Cataclasis.
Cataclasis Emerging Energy
Cataclasis Emerging Energy drives the first spike of energetic motion. Wings of abstract bronze fold back in ridged currents, striking a dialogue between energies that are housed in natural mined clay and in Snowden’s proprietary bronze. The sculptor’s materials are natural energy communicators that are built upon quartz crystals and other sensitive substances that react to touch. In this Energy element as well as in Snowden’s other works, the sculptor’s message is the medium as well as the form. Within this larger vision, humankind shares a basic relationship with cosmic power and light.
Cataclasis Latent Energy
Among Snowden’s lifetime works that won America’s premier sculpture prize, the Alex Ettl Grant, Cataclasis explores the monumental forces and energies that mold the earth’s surface. Through a one-ton bronze icon, Cataclasis Latent Energy harbors a sense of pent-up intention that seems drawn from the center of ancient bedrock. Light sources transiting over the glowing historic Fournier Patina covering the surface of Latent Energy, lead the eye into the mirage of the sculpture’s mantis-like and brooding profile. The sculpture’s form engages passages of expressionistic abstraction that interlock with the free-forming planes of Active and Emerging Energies creating a single work.
Cataclasis Active Energy
Cataclasis Active Energy surges as a monumental force that dives through earth’s crust. Puzzle locking to its complementary pair of elements, Active Energy completes a ring of energy forming transiting seasons of age found across the cosmos, from rocks to stars to humans and to the very bronze of sculpture. Here in bustling Active, every stretch of sinew conveys a sense of exertion that is realized through the thrust of Snowden’s figurative hand-grasp. Snowden is possessed of an ability to connect intellectual intention to empowering gesture, writing complements of action and mental force into the deepest layers of the bronze. Within Snowden’s art, ephemeral states of energy become clear in a technique that allows bronze to accentuate its own propensity toward form.
Tectonics masses four monumental titans that emerge from bronze. The group’s dense profile joins a range of lifetime works that won the prestigious Alex Ettl Grant in 1989. Tectonics remains the first sculpture to express Snowden’s central idea that the very substance of humankind, stars, planetary masses, earth’s oceans, and bronze are created of the same interrelated yet differently arranged elements. As one international critic has remarked, “Certainly Snowden has understood how each one of these four figures not only heralds the multitude as it stands today, but how each archetype goes back into the formative foundations of past lives expressed as the rock out of which men arise. Yet, Snowden has gone further, casting Tectonics as an image that defies easy description, thrusting forward into the essence of 'becoming'."
Tectonics Europe Element
Tectonics Europe churns through rock to break through a threshold. In this enlargement of the western quadrant of Tectonics, we meet armored walls of subterranean bedrock that ultimately fall away in revealing the burgeoning continent of Europe. Snowden sculpts a sense of quiet interior force as the work strains to free itself. In this upper register, continental landmass supports the evolution of humanity rising from a state of impaction.
Verdura clusters bronze into a vision of nature. In Verdura, Snowden dedicates the art of sculpture to the power of plants; plants that through their chemistries, root systems and growth life cycles, constantly reshape and mold the earth’s mantle – a sculpting process science refers to as Organogenesis. Verdura’s half-ton weight effortlessly springs from a single stem that evolves into lush foliate forms of orchids, magnolias, lilies, tulips, roses and the central caryatid of Verdura. Snowden’s lifetime relationship with proprietary controlled gravity pour techniques creates Verdura into a veritable garden.
Genesis’s bronze crushes force against force. The work is based on the scientific word Orogenesis which means “mountain building.” Genesis as bronze sets a precedent in bringing forward Snowden’s vision of structuring a mountain; a conceptualization that underlies her essential building technique. In Genesis Snowden expresses a sense of triangulation where the composition forms a linear pyramid that builds as one of the strongest constructs available to bronze architecture. Genesis traces two distinct figural energy summaries as the sculptor pits two discrete forces against one another at dramatic angles. Indeed, in these two smooth yet variegated anatomical evocations, Snowden achieves a duality of intention that suggests bonding as well as dissolution; two polarities that are essential to basic geological and sculptural formation.
Rhexodus explodes soil and rock, shattering existing ground. The bronze was initially shaped around Snowden’s meditation on Rhexistasy – the mechanical disintegration of outgoing old soils and other surface materials. Within this concept of geological deformation, Rhexodus emerges as an exodus of clay and the lost wax bronze process, generating four surges of change across all four sides of the composition. Within this shifting geologic environment mirroring the human lifecycle, Snowden contemplates Moses’s life as a means of focusing on chapters of transformation. Touring the sculpture clockwise, Rhexodus begins contemplating young Moses as a Prince in the work’s first quadrant. Moving forward into the second perspective, middle aged Moses in the Desert is drawn with an enlarged sense of emotional pathos. As the work turns, the third aspect reveals the advanced middle years of Moses as Lawgiver; finally arriving to the fourth quadrant’s vision of the senior Moses Enthroned as a Vessel of fulfillment.
Igneous Shield Protectite (Studio)
Raw molten metal flows into Igneous Shield Protectite’s reaching form. Geological science defines Shield Protectite as the first magma to cool from a lava flow, forming an outcropping or “shield” that rises up against pre-existing terrain that acts as a molding wall. Snowden’s invocation of Shield Protectite takes shape as a forceful stanchion that recalls the formation of a cooled igneous Shield within nature. To the sculptor, Shield is the embodiment of form resulting from process, where tons of molten metal ingots have become smelted and cooled against Snowden’s hollow molds. Indeed to Snowden, the foundry setting of the Shield bears resemblance to burning crucibles in the inner earth.
Igneous Shield Protectite (Monumental)
Broiling and churning metal collects and cools into Shield Protectite’s pillar of strength. Commissioned for Glendale’s new Civic Center Plaza in southern California, the ten-ton twenty-foot monumental scale of Shield Protectite transforms a flow of molten igneous material into a massive icon. Radiating a visual field of abstract and human interaction, the Shield over-arcs the chaos of its upper and lower registers, to shape a solid buttress. Floating from an alternative mortise, the bronze literally disengages from its mooring to convey an ethos of compassion and intense physicality within the main element, with the sum of its magnitude balanced on a welded plinth of just eighteen inches.
Snowden’s Lava jettisons aloft on a sweeping tide of molten earth. In this evocation, earthly elements of humankind and bronze rise into full expressions of freedom and three dimensionality. Brought forth from geologic and humanitarian crucibles, Lava’s design was first conceived as a meditation on the natural flowing forms of molten bronze observed within casting processes in the foundry. Subsequent finishing evolved the work into figurative passages that in turn, expanded into larger meanings of humanitarian commitment and meaning. Indeed, the study scale became recognized as the Flame of Liberty; the cornerstone of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., located between the Lincoln and Washington Memorials in the National Mall. The original conceptual plan has become housed in the Congressional Offices of the United States.