Springfield Museums Press Releases

Fabric Sculptures Come to Life in New Exhibit

George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum

October 24, 2005

Life-like figures by Springfield sculptor Lisa Lichtenfels will be on view at the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum.

Life-like figures by Springfield sculptor Lisa Lichtenfels will be on view from November 16, 2005 through January 8, 2006 at the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum in the special exhibition Realism in Fabric: The Art of Lisa Lichtenfels. The exhibit opens November 16 with a free public reception from 5–7 p.m. at the museum.

The exhibition will focus on Lichtenfels' recent work of photographically realistic nylon figures. Included will be life-size and one-quarter size figures, some arranged in dioramas such as the recreation of her "Krazy Horse Saloon," a 5 x 12 foot environment with 18 characters.

Among Lichtenfels' figures are a number of actual Springfield people, including her late nextdoor neighbor, "Gloria." Another figure, "Kazan, the Shopping-Cart Man," is a composite of several street people who pass by her Springfield studio on a regular basis. The exhibition also includes fantasy creatures such as angels and faeries, figures from mythology, celebrities, and ethnic figures from traditional cultures around the world.

A series of in-progress figures shows how the artist achieves remarkable realism by making detailed skeletons out of white felt, layering nylon to create the skin, and using a technique she calls "needlemodeling" to produce fine anatomical detail. The exhibition will also include 70 photographs Lichtenfels has taken to document her sculptures over the past 15 years.

Lichtenfels graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art with a double major in film and illustration. Shortly after graduating, she began work as an animation apprentice for Disney studios. There, she developed three-dimensional nylon figures for stop-motion animated films and discovered the sculpting possibilities of fabric. In 1982, Lichtenfels moved to Springfield where she works from her home. Her work is in collections worldwide.
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