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
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