The American art world is a chaotic soup of art that exists to shock and entertain, to speak to personal stories, limited ideas and temporary displays. In our context, it is my observation the average person no longer understands the difference between art and design, between art and decoration, between art and craft, between art and entertainment. Try it, go ask someone to tell you the difference.
Here is my definition: Art is communication of profound thoughts. Thus, visual art is a communication of profound thought through visual media.
Sculpture has the ability to endure for centuries, even millennia. In our instant gratification world, not too many artists seem to be thinking about their work in the long term. Not in terms of it's content and not in terms of it's physical structure either. (I recently went to a gallery showing sculptures made of masking tape, selling for tens of thousands of dollars.)
So while it may not be very "of the moment" to make a sculpture in bronze or glass or stone, it is a way to speak to the future. It is a way to communicate profound ideas today and to a distant future. That is a somewhat different idea than making art to explore feelings or to rebel against something. It's a big idea and deserves deep contemplation.
Someday this blog will no longer exist and my work as an artist will have to speak for itself. I will not be standing there to explain it and my artists statement will have long since been lost and forgotten. What will my work say? How will anyone understand it? To speak a language that I believe has the best chance of being understood, I use the human figure. People get it. Not just some people, but pretty much everybody, everywhere at every time. It's the least elitist language I can think of.
The ideas I try to convey in my sculpture are the most profound ideas possible. They are ideas that I believe are common to most people, they have a certain universality that gives them enough weight to justify my efforts. So when I tackle a subject like the giddy moment of dizziness in a spinning child, encompassing both memories of the past and contemplation of an uncertain future, I believe it speaks to humanity. I believe it says something about the time in which it was conceived (a dizzy time) as well as something timeless. It speaks about a tangible moment but also about human consciousness and perception. It has layers of meaning both simple and complex. And perhaps if I am able to cast it in bronze, someone in the future will know something, perhaps in an intimate way, about our time here at the dawn of the 21st century. That's art.