Urge to depict the human form is as ancient as mankind’s
ability to draw and sculpt. Yet, when illustrated nude,
it has attracted controversy ever since Man’s
loss of innocence and subsequent eviction from the Garden
of Eden. Contemporary America is especially ambivalent
about the subject. At one extreme the nude is feared
and looked upon with suspicion. On the other hand there
are those who quest for a physical ideal at any cost.
Even within the art world there is no consensus. Formalism
has long been the dominant philosophy and figuration
has been disdained by many for more than half a century.
That fact not withstanding, there are artists like Ira
Sapir who seek fresh insights as they explore this timelessly
Sapir is a sculptor who exalts the human form in a dramatic,
larger than life statement of coiled steel. His poised
figures have powerful physiques of stylized muscle and
sinew. Employing an innovative technique, Sapir weaves
and layers thousands of feet of coiled wire onto metal
armatures. Gradually, over a period of months the various
muscle groups evolve with the circular motion of each
coil flowing gracefully, one into each other. Ultimately,
a heroic form emerges whose surface is soft and responsive
to the touch.
Sapir’s sculptures stem from classic tradition.
They are dynamic, expressive figures that wrest the
viewer’s attention from other distractions. Tracing
the seemingly endless coils of one of Sapir’s
figures, we admire the artist’s achievements and
marvel at the beauty and dignity of the human form.