Introduction

Many sculptors today are choosing to work within a rich figurative tradition, but they do not accept that legacy uncritically. Confronting the complexities of twenty-first-century realities, some revisit the classical paradigms that dominated the West in antiquity and the Renaissance; others seek new formal possibilities to reflect the diversity of a global society. One of the most exciting developments in the arts today is the re-emergence of figurative sculpture in civic spaces. Here, the plastic arts are especially appropriate, both because three-dimensionality allows viewing in the round and because the human body is eloquent in expressing abstract virtue and individual heroism. As our definition of heroism changes and expands, however, sculptors must go beyond conventional models, such as the victorious equestrian, to encompass multiple perspectives and forge a new sculptural vocabulary. Working along a continuum from realism to idealization, sculptors are also exploring the contemplative experience of small-scale pieces in private settings, and sculpture is once again taking its rightful place as one of the sister arts in the context of architectural programs. Mediums range from the traditional bronze and marble to fiberglass and resin, which present their own challenges and opportunities.