Carole A. Feuerman is recognized as a pioneering figure in the world of hyperrealist sculpture. Together with Hanson and De Andrea, Feuerman is one of the three artists that started the Hyperrealism movement in the late seventies by making sculptures portraying their models in a life-like manner. Dubbed ‘the reigning doyenne of super-realism’ by art historian John T. Spike, Feuerman has solidified her place in art history.
Feuerman’s prolific career spans over four decades and four continents. Through her sculptures, she creates visual manifestations of the stories she wants to tell; of strength, survival, balance. Feuerman has produced a rich body of work in the studio and the public realm. By combining conventional sculptural materials of steel, bronze, and resin, with more unconventional media like water, sound, and video, she creates hybrid works of intricate energy and psychology.
She has taught, lectured, and given workshops at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, Columbia University, and Grounds for Sculpture. In 2011, she founded the Carole A. Feuerman Sculpture Foundation. To this day, she continues her focus on public outdoor sculptures, working primarily in bronze.
There are four full-color monographs written about her work: Carole Feuerman Sculpture, both editions published by Hudson Hills Press; La Scultura incontra la realtà, available in multiple languages; and Swimmers, published by The Artist Book Foundation. ‘Grande Catalina’, her monumental sculpture featured at the 2007 Venice Biennale, is included in A History of Western Art, published by Harry N. Abrams, and written by Anthony Mason and John T. Spike.
Feuerman exhibits in private and public collections, sculpture parks, galleries, and museums worldwide. Her works are often integrated with architecture and landscaping in the creation or renovation of buildings and sites. An especially important example is her monumental ‘Double Diver’ spiraling 36 feet in the air, and permanently sited in Silicon Valley, owned by the City of Sunnyvale, California. ‘Survival of Serena’ has been exhibited by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and was also recently chosen to be installed in Central Park for their celebration 'It's Happening! 50 Years of Public Art in NYC Parks'. Currently, it is being exhibited publicly in the Piazzetta in Capri, Italy. ‘Monumental Quan’ was first exhibited in the Frederik Meijer Sculpture Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is now in the Venice Biennale. One of Feuerman’s most recognizable pieces, ‘The Golden Mean’, is owned by the City of Peekskill, NY, and can be seen in Riverfront Green Park overlooking the Hudson River. Her latest sculpture, ‘Beyond the Golden Mean’ is 16 feet tall and 2.5 tons of bronze, and is installed in Porto Montenegro.
Feuerman has had nine solo museum retrospectives, exhibited extensively worldwide, and is included in the permanent collections of 19 museums. In Italy, she participated in the Venice Biennale four times, as well as in Piazza della Repubblica in Florence, Palazzo Grazie, the Teatro Romano e Museo Civico in Fiesole, and the Musei di Rimini. In China, she has exhibited in Hong Kong, the National Museum of China, and Huan Tai Hu Museum in the Jiangsu province. She has exhibited in Korea at the Clayarch Gimhae Museum, Daejeon Museum, and Suwon Museum. In Germany, she has exhibited at the Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, the Contemporary Art Museum in Aachen, and in Kassel during Documenta 14 (2017). In Spain, she exhibited at Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao and the Academia de Bellas Artes de Madrid. In Mexico, she has exhibited at Marco Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, and Denmark at the Arken Museum of Modern Art.
In 2017, the European Cultural Centre organized a solo show for Feuerman entitled Personal Structures – Open Borders, one of many exhibitions surrounding the Venice Biennale, where Feuerman has had a presence for decades. Her works were also exhibited at Venissa in Burano, Palazzo Mora, Palazzo Bembo, and the San Clemente Palace. In November 2017, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement from Marquis Who’s Who.
Her selected collectors include the Emperor of Japan, President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Norman Brahman, the Caldic Collection, Mark Parker, Ariela Wertheimer, Robert Hurst, and Malcolm Forbes.
Feuerman seeks to connect with her viewers on an intuitive level, evoking emotion and engagement. It is often the viewer’s participation, or the object/viewer relationship, that completes her work. Feuerman maintains two studios in New York and New Jersey. In October 2017, Feuerman gave the keynote address to the 2017 Ideas Remaking the World program at the International Women's Forum in Houston in front of over a thousand women leaders from across the globe.
MY SUBJECTS ARE SWIMMERS.
MY MEDIUM IS WATER.
Swimming and water have fascinated me for as long as I can remember, and as a result, have become the essence of my inspiration for my pieces. I loved the beach as a child and many of my fondest memories are of playing in the sand and jumping the waves at Jones Beach on Long Island. I remember with great detail how the delicate water droplets covered my arms and face after returning from a swim, and the patterns that formed on my skin captivated me. I noticed how the human figure radiates a healthy glow while in the water and coming out, and how the water seemed to rejuvenate the body while instilling a sense of harmony, both internally and externally. It was for these reasons that I started drawing swimmers in the second grade, and in the fifth grade, had asked my parents to sign me up for private art lessons on Saturdays. It was both the swimmers and the water that kept my attention from the beginning, and still to this day.
Since 1958, I have concentrated on swimmers and figures with water elements. Through my sculptures, I explore classicism and beauty, which are subjects that have been taboo in contemporary art. There is a conditioned, yet inaccurate, belief that "good" radical art has to reject something that is attractive and pleasing to the eye. I do not reject the concept of beauty, but embrace it. I see it, create it, and portray it with my swimmers, who show emotion, joy, grace, tranquility, and sensuality. They are peace loving, and sometimes pleasure loving. They are satisfied with life and moreover, they are survivors.
My swimmers have their own personalities and tell their own stories. Their stories are my stories, sometimes autobiographical and sometimes stories I just need to tell. While their outward appearance is often one of beauty and tranquility, these elegant faces mask a deeper meaning of heroism, triumph, and liberation. Their titles are derived from islands around the world that I have visited and gained inspiration from over the years. For example, in 1976, I went to the Isle of Capri, Italy, in the Mediterranean Sea and created a sculpture called "Capri" named after that special island. In 1979, inspired by the blue horizon of the Pacific Ocean, I envisioned a swimmer emerging like a phoenix from the sea with water droplets streaming across her face, which took form in my creation of "Catalina". She appears as a proud survivor, beautiful, and strong. In 2005, I made a monumental version, “Grande Catalina”, which John Spike installed in the center of Florence, and that was the beginning of my major public sculptures. In 1981, I created "Innertube", a contemplative sculpture of a swimmer resting peacefully on an inflatable tube. This serene and meditative sculpture led me to create "Survival of Serena" for the 2006 Venice Biennale. She was named after the Island of Venice “the Serene Island” and was created in a monumental scale. One of my more recent pieces, "Next Summer", is named after a very special Island in Michigan called the Summer Island. I am currently working on “Double Diver”, a monumental forty-foot bronze male diver in a handstand with another diver holding his feet. While it isn’t named for an island, it speaks of persistence and the will to succeed, exemplifying integrity, trust and teamwork.
After 56 years of creating swimmers, I continue to be fascinated with the figure in the water with water patterns on them. I love the mechanics of water and its presence as an enduring symbol for life. The symbolism of water is far-reaching and profoundly deep. Water cleanses and purifies. Water touches all people, animals and things. Water connects one land to another. Water moistens and revives. I observe, photograph and sculpt swimmers because we are all swimmers.