Martin Eichinger - Romancing the Bronze

Article excerpt

Oregon-based sculptor Martin Eichinger does not consider himself a figurative artist, though his works portray mostly human figures. "I am a narrative artist," he says. "What I am interested in is emotion and motion."

He distinguishes between classical and romantic impulses in art. "Classical thought represents the minimization of the extraneous, in both the visual and the content portions of the sculpture," he told writer Sharon Elaine Thompson for her article "Windows on the Human Heart." Romantic thought, in contrast, "adds complexity by adding meaning." Eichinger clearly identifies himself as a romantic sculptor. In each artwork he adds layers of meaning by implying a story, drawing the viewer into a personal, imaginative encounter with the sculpture.

Eichinger has been sculpting since he was in seventh grade, but it was many years before he made a full-time career of it. His university degree was in business, with a major in advertising and a minor in commercial art. After teaching for three years at a community college, he started an advertising agency that in time specialized in producing three-dimensional exhibits for science museums.

The decision to shift from commercial work to art evolved from a comment by one of his clients, who came to Eichinger's house to view plans for a children's museum exhibit. The client, an art collector, asked where Eichinger got the bronzes adorning his home. When he learned that making them was Eichinger's hobby, he said, "This is a really great exhibit [proposal], but I just don't understand why you're doing this for me when you could be doing that," gesturing to the artworks. "Somebody else can do this for me. But nobody else is going to make those sculptures."

"That little comment just didn't go away," Eichinger recalls. He began "refocusing more and more of my energy back into my art," until it became his occupation. …