In late 2005, Michael Binkley secured a commission for a life-size standing female nude sculpture which he began work on in Italy in the spring of 2006 – marking one of his Italian Experiences. The patron was very excited that Binkley would be personally choosing the white marble block and that the genesis of the carving of the sculpture would occur in Italy. He wanted the sculpture for the interior of his home in Kelowna, BC, Canada.
There were several features the patron wanted included in the sculpture. The figure had to have passion, mysticism, innocence, sensuality, and femininity in her form. She was to have a less detailed face that was open to interpretation, be slim, athletic, flirting, enticing, strong, yet have an unobtainable air. A very daunting list of criteria for a single sculpture! Binkley’s conceptual sketch is at left, but he had the patron’s permission to have artistic licence to make subtle changes if the marble block dictated it.
As the human nude is Binkley’s favourite subject matter, the sculptor was thrilled with the prospect of this commission. He began work on the sculpture in Pietrasanta, Italy and completed the piece in his North Vancouver studio. When it was completed, the patron arranged for transport and delivery to his home.
This original fine art stone sculpture is carved from bianco marble, which is quarried in the mountains above the famous town of Carrara, Italy. While there are dozens of varieties of white Cararra marble, the bianco has a wonderful crystal structure that Binkley finds a delight to carve. Although the classic statuario marble is the most coveted by Italians for sculpture, Binkley finds its pure white colour looks almost like porcelain. Bianco marble has very faint grey striations and this feature makes the material look like stone, which appeals to him.
Binkley gave the female nude’s surface a silky smooth matte finish that is wonderful to the touch and gives the marble the ability to successfully hold shadow. The drapery she lets dangle from her left hand has a fine file finish to give the illusion of linen-like fabric. This drapery acts as a structural support for the sculpture, as the support-to-weight ratio of marble ankles to marble body is not the same as real bone and flesh. In history, stone sculptors have usually carved a stone or tree stump behind a figure’s leg to support the delicate ankles, as Michelangelo’s “David.”
Once completed, Binkley unveiled the nude to his patron at his studio. The patron was thrilled and christened the sculpture with the name “Ansia.” Ansia is Portuguese for anxiety and Binkley is unsure as to the significance this means to his patron, however the English word is intriguing.