Marc Sijan

Marc Sijan's Superrealistic sculptures are "homages to humanity's fascination with its own forms -- a fascination which has compelled artists throughout the millennia to mirror life in virtually every medium." Sijan's figures are incredibly lifelike, sensuous and graceful. In fact, they are so lifelike, they seem always on the verge of movement, a mere instant away from action. The pores in the skin, the tiny hairs, and veins; even the bald spots, the blemishes, the individual shapes of the faces that make human beings so similar, yet so unique: These are the essence of what makes Marc Sijan's work so arresting.

Sijan, a Milwaukee-based artist, carries on the tradition of a very old form, but his approach is very modern. His realism recalls the work of the Greek sculptors in its bold expression of human energy and poise. But Sijan is not necessarily celebrating the ideal form. His figures are more gritty, more natural -- a tribute to real people. Sijan's work is similar to that of fellow artists Duane Hanson and John DeAndrea, who use lifelike human figures to express elements of the human condition and human relationships. But whereas his colleagues tend to express a kind of static existence, Sijan tries to capture a life force in full swing. "I am seeking to freeze motion rather than suggest life," he notes. "The sculpture appears passive, but there is so much going on inside."

Sijan received his Bachelor's degree in art education from the University of Wisconsin in 1968, then went on to complete a Master of Science in Art degree three years later. It was then that he began to sculpt the human figure. His work has won him recognition throughout the country, with over 50 one-man museum exhibitions worldwide, over half of which set all time attendance records. His work appears in permanent collections in over 30 international museums.

His goal was to create sculpture that could stand alone, on the verge of movement, yet somehow remain deeply silent and "spiritual." "The human figure is one of the most challenging subjects to work with," he said. "1 am working to develop a niche of my own where I can develop a believable figurative sculpture that works not only on a visual level, but on a deeper more emotional level."

Sijan's method is distinct and exacting. First, he works from live models, to produce a negative mold in plaster, and sculpts the interior with special tools and a magnifying glass to assure accurate detail. Then, he casts the figure in a polyester resin. To achieve realistic flesh tones, Sijan applies 25 coats of paint --- and adds varnish. Sijan uses oil paint in the final stages of the work. "The goal is to achieve depth, yet translucency," he says. "It can't be flat. The chest and throat texture is different from that of the arms, legs and stomach. Facial skin differs from that on the torso."

To achieve the remarkably realistic product on view here today, Sijan looks for "variations." Those are the millions of individual features we all possess -- goosebumps, skin imperfections, skin color, sunburn, birthmarks, age spots -- and Sijan spends as long as six months reproducing this detail on one piece. The process of exploring the human figure is deeply emotional, says Sijan. His work celebrates the individual, and in discovering version after version of the human figure, he notes, there is always something of oneself lying just under the surface. "It´s interesting, this fascination," he said. "The human form is the oldest artistic subject --- it was the first subject known to man. We just keep interpreting it, over and over."

 

by Ruth Stenberg
Formery of The Canton Institute of Art

 

                                                           Life-Size Sculpture

ONE-MAN MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

2017    Hyperrealistic Exhibition’ ANKEM Museum Modern Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark
2016    Suwon IPark Museum of Art, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.
2016    Clayarch Gimhae Museum, Gimhae-si Gyeongsangnam-do South Korea.
2016    ‘Hyperrealistic Exhibition’ Museo de Bellas Artes- Bilbao, Spain.
2016    Hyperrealistic Exhibition’ MARCO Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Monterrey, Mexico
2015    21C Hyperrealism Exhibition Daejoen Museum Of Art, Daejoen City, South Korea.
2014    Artprize winner 3D Sculpture, Museum of Art, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2013    The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
2012    Vero Beach Museum of Art, Vero Beach, Florida
2011    Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach, Virginia
2010    Waukesha County Museum, Waukesha, Wisconsin
2010    Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, University of Louisiana, Lafayette
2010    Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, Mason City, Iowa
2010    Krasl Art Museum, St. Joseph, Michigan
2010    Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware
2010    Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
2010    Cuadro Museum and Fine Art Gallery, Dubai, U.A.E
2009    J Wayne Stark Gallery, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
2009    Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, Illinois
2009    Dane G. Hansen Memorial Museum, Logan, Kansas
2009    The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
2009    R.W. Norton Art Museum, Shreveport, Louisiana
2009    Pritikin Museum, San Francisco, California
2008    Muscatine Art Center, Muscatine, Iowa
2008    Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida
2008    International Contemporary Figurative Sculpture Museum, Portugal
2004    Albany Museum of Art, Albany, Georgia
2004    Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
2004    Dennos Museum Center, Traverse City, Michigan
2004    Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
2004    York Museum of Art, York, Pennsylvania
2003    Louisiana Art & Science, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
2003    Krasl Art Museum, Saint Joseph, Michigan
2003    Dane G. Hansen Memorial Art Museum, Logan, Kansas
2003    J.Wayne Stark Museum of Art, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
2002    Brunnier Art Museum, Ames, Iowa
2002    Bregstrom-Mahler Museum of Art, Neenah, Wisconsin
2001    Texas Tech University Museum, Lubbock, Texas
2001    Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
2001    Muscatine Museum of Art, Muscatine, Iowa
2001    Southwest Art Museum, Midland, Texas
2001    Museum of Art & Science, Macon, Georgia
1999    Art Museum of Abilene, Abilene,Texas
1998    Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, Louisiana
1998    Meadows Museum of Art, Shreveport, Louisiana
1998    Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso, Indiana
1998    Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts, Owensboro, Kentucky
1997    Union Art Museum, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
1997    New England Fine Art Museum, Boston, Massachusetts
1997    McAllen International Art Museum, McAllen, Texas
1997    Art Museum of Hollywood, Hollywood, Florida
1997    Loveland Museum and Art Gallery, Loveland, Colorado
1997    Dane G. Hansen Memorial Art Museum, Logan, Kansas
1996    Roger Goffey Art Museum, Kansas City, Misssouri
1996    Midland Art Museum, Midland, Michigan
1996    Berman Museum of Art, Collegeville, Pennsylvania
1996    Sunrise Museum of Art, Charleston, West Virginia
1996    Museum of Art and Archeology, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
1996    Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, Kansas
1995    Ella Caruthers Dunnegan Museum of Art, Bolivar, Missouri
1995    West Bend Art Museum, West Bend, Wisconsin
1995    Paine Art Center, Oshkosh,Wisconsin
1995    Cheekwood Tennessee Museum of Art, Nashville, Tennessee
1995    Portsmouth Museum The Arts Center, Portsmouth, Virginia
1994    Texas Tech University Museum, Lubbock, Texas
1994    Canton Art Institute, Canton, Ohio
1993    Charles H. MacNider Museum, Mason City, Iowa
1986    Byer Museum of Art, Evanston, Illinois
1971    University of Wisconsin, Museum of Art, Milwaukee, Wisconsin