The investigation of many things and the contemplation of the Mystery

I have always been fascinated by how a physical, relatively inanimate object like a rock, tree or hay bale can possess a metaphysical presence.  I have come to the conclusion that this probably comes about in many different ways far too complex to go into here but there are two areas of which I think have a greater affect on this phenomena and that drive my sculptural investigations. 

One being how an object grows and forms; whether it be the subtle strands of a blade of grass, the intense layering and overflowing of volcanic lava or the diverse and complex materialization of the constantly shifting clouds. I am referring here to an experience on a mesoscale: specifically a human scale interaction with our environment.

The other factor in the mystery comes about by our perception of the object and the thoughts we impute upon any given object such as the perfect crystal forms said to be created when monks bless water with chants and positive thoughts or the concept of reshaping objects using the mind’s energies such as Urigela’s spoon bending or the physic collective conscience claimed to create intricate crop circles.  I find these sorts of natural phenomena totally intriguing, a shaft of light, a glint from a jewel, a shadow in an enchanted wood, an enigmatic broom leaning against a doorway, an autumn bush seemingly ablaze on a hilltop or a rainbows reflection in the mirror of a lake, these things cannot be quantified in the object. 

The question is can we ape nature in a way that does not merely illustrate it, and why are we driven to do this, this is what I play with in my work: to be closer, to be nearer, to experience, to attempt to make work that exudes that same beauty and awe.  I believe that experiences with art can be transformative and that continues to engage me in creating pieces that attempt to transcend the objects themselves.

This work investigates the dualities of stillness and active presence, exploring forces of magic, containment,  potential, the influence of an event, pressure in, out, up, down, pulling pushes, flys, crash, bubbles, blow ups, cracks, ley lines score the surface. 

The dynamic forces that are evident in nature are difficult to map out but they can be given a chance to manifest and teased out within the making of the piece through working physically, grappling with material and process. Through working directly with melting and casting metal. I can respond to its transient liquid state, as well as to its weight and permanance: like wood, metal can be experiences as a living material as it breaths, oxidizes and grows.

The transitory action of molten metal captured in time signifies a metamorphosis. This work in the studio is challenging
, sometimes awkward and difficult with spontaneous and uncontrolled results.  The idea of speeding up the work of nature is historically connected to the story of metal casting which today has been foreshadowed by the use of digital technology which is doing its own form of aping nature, such as in the latest cell phone screen savers representing a flickering flame to hold up at concerts, the predecessors of this being the primitive flaming torch.

Fire, a transformative agent aids the events: tantalizing, in flux, action, vibration, and residue. Operating with these elements has allowed me to capture a sense of vitality in my work that was unexpected.

In essence working with fire and fuel brings together my concepts:
The investigation of many things and the contemplation of the mystery;
the object  created is physical and static, yet it resonates with life, resiliently maintaining the presence of the process that created it.

Coral Lambert 2013

Teaching Philosophy


In the field of sculpture, interdisciplinary learning and personal experience are key components to my philosophy of teaching.  I believe that it is essential to draw from a variety of techniques, processes, experiences and knowledge to effectively convey concepts to students. Emphasizing experiential learning I teach sculpture in the studio and in the real world.

Due to the unique nature of each student and the area of art they are studying, having them discover for themselves and what they feel passionate about is essential. I know personally that being exposed to diverse approaches early on in my career inspired my passion for innovation that hopefully shows in my teaching style.

I believe that the responsibility of a good teacher begins with reaching out and challenging all students, regardless of level.  Integral to this is the ability to excite students by connecting art to the students’ lives. All students bring a knowledge base and the foundations of an aesthetic into their practice, all have different learning styles partially as a result of life experience, and I think teaching principles and methods that embrace these differences are one way to be successful.  Providing a critical forum for an open exchange of ideas and a positive learning environment is central to my role as a university professor.

Sculpture principles are wide ranging and often embrace complex concepts, they require various processes and techniques therefore I provide a diverse range of assignments from which each student can gain insights.  To be successful, one must be motivated to take the initiative to learn or teach when appropriate. One must be flexible and prepared for the most unforeseen circumstances, and often able to improvise lectures to take advantage of opportune tutorials. I view experiential teaching and learning as essential to providing students with the most realistic and defined knowledge. In the studio, students appear excited to learn through my teaching methods because I encourage them to find their own path.

At all levels, my courses are structured around core knowledge, skills and techniques, and I work to combine concept into each lesson by providing open-ended problems and encouraging students to develop their own solutions.  I require that my students actively research and maintain notes and sketchbooks.  These, along with concept statements, research notes for major projects provide an aid for individualizing instruction. Courses within a sequence build upon one another, enabling students to excel at each succeeding step.  Foundations courses, including Three Dimensional Design, provide students with a necessary understanding of the principles of design and the ability to successfully manipulate and describe a composition in space. Beginning Sculpture provides an exploration of materials and basic studio processes. Intermediate and Advanced Sculpture develops and customizes this exploration as required by the student. Alongside this an acute awareness of contemporary sculpture is stipulated.

One of the foundational components to survival is being of the fittest. While most people perceive “the fittest” as the strongest, this is a popular misconception. The most fit are the most adaptive to change. In teaching, adaptability is crucial. Regular self-evaluation through critiques is necessary to confront new challenges in the studio. I think my enthusiasm for the subject matter and dedication to the field is apparent to my students and encourages a learning environment. I try my utmost to develop my teaching methods with experience of being the teacher, learning to learn to adapt to different situations with feedback from my students to provide the most positive learning environment and inspire them to produce the most innovative work within the field sculpture.


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