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Binkley creates “Il Volo” from Carrara marble

“Il Volo” is Italian for “the flight”, and I chose this title for this large abstract sculpture after its shape and the origin of the material.

A while ago, I carved a small abstract shape from a scrap piece of rainforest marble(above left). I was pleased with the form, but thought it would be much more successful as a large sculpture. It wasn’t until Michelle and I brought back several large white marble blocks from Italy in 2008, that I finally found a stone that would work.

The piece that “Il Volo” (above right) was carved from began as an elongated pyramidal shaped chunk of white marble from the Petacchi quarry located in the mountains above the famous town of Carrara, Italy. The monochromatic white colour of this variety of Italian marble is wonderful for large scale works and also has a mineral content that renders the marble safe for outdoor sculpture in Vancouver, Canada’s climate. You can see a short video clip of me working on this sculpture in the studio, using a fretting technique.

I did not point up the small original to the large version. Instead, I wanted to utilize the whole marble chunk. As the block was elongated, the resulting sculpture does not have the same proportions as the small original. “Il Volo” is also the mirror image of the first piece. The flat, winglike surface of the original is changed to a billowed compound curve  that appears to be the sail of a boat.

“Il Volo” looks very different from various angles, but the negative curved space on the underside definitely gives the heavy marble a sense of lightness. From the side shown, the sculpture appears to be floating or flying, like a leaping dolphin, defying its 2,000 pound weight. From other angles, it looks like a beach sandal flip-flop and the jib or spinnaker of a sailboat. I have sanded all the surfaces to a silky smooth finish, so the sculpture is wonderful to the touch. The matte finish also gives the stone the ability to hold shadows well.

The sculpture needs to have some open space around it to give the viewer the ability to view the sculpture from a slight distance. As with all outdoor sculpture, Il Volo’s curved edges will cast ever changing shadows during the day, as the Sun passes overhead.

To see more of this sculpture, go to the current collection section of my website.

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