Babette Bloch Mellon [NRA 2006]
First name: Babette ;
Middle name: ;
Last name: Bloch Mellon ;
Member: Non-resident artist member ;
Begin: 2006 ;
End: n/a ;
Sculptor Babette Bloch is a pioneer in the use of laser-cut and water jet-cut stainless steel in creating figurative works of art. Her sculptures explore form and the interplay between object and light, reflect their environments, and expand the ways in which stainless steel is used in contemporary art.
Bloch’s works of art embrace her eclectic tastes, her pleasure in aesthetics, and her technical curiosity. Drawing on several traditions in American art, she creates works that touch on Modernist abstraction, the cut outs and collage found in Pop art, and the long-standing practice of story telling in art.
In cutting, shaping, burnishing, and grinding stainless steel, Bloch has developed the material’s natural properties of brightness and reflectivity while making the dense metal seem nearly weightless and ethereal. Her distinctive approach is seen in public commissions in her silhouetted and larger-than-life-sized Reflecting History series, seen in Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC, and Hudson Heritage Farm, Ganges, MI. The fully molded floral and wildlife sculptures from her Reflecting Nature series are on view in museum and private collections in the U.S. and in Europe.
In her larger works, Bloch collaborates with structural engineers to ensure the long-term stability of the sculptures. Works range from tabletop scale to her monumental vase series, some of which are well over 6’ tall, to her recently completed 16-foot Vitruvian Man (Enterprise Corporate Park, Shelton, CT), an interpretation in stainless steel of the iconic drawing by Leonardo da Vinci. Many of her works are created in a range of scales. All are limited editions.
Bloch’s works of art begin as highly finished drawings that are scanned and scaled to a one-to-one ratio with the forms that will be created. Computer-driven lasers or water precisely cut through stainless steel, and she then wields a hand-held grinding machine as her paintbrush, adding lyricism and dimensionality before molding the steel with industrial shaping machinery. The completed sculptures reflect the colors and topography of their environments and, in her cutout silhouettes, are compelling portals to the landscapes beyond. They have been described as “ethereal, magical and transportive.”
Bloch’s works are in the permanent collections of Brookgreen Gardens; Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL, B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum, Washington, DC; Hudson Heritage Farm, Ganges, MI; International Hillel, Washington, DC; Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, MD; and numerous private collections in Europe and the U.S.
She pursued both classical and modern training, including study with notable artists Deborah Butterfield and, at the celebrated art department of University of California at Davis, where she received her degree, with Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson, and Manuel Neri. Bloch has received numerous awards, including those bestowed by the National Arts Club, Salmagundi Club and Museum, and the National Association of Women Artists Bloch lives in Connecticut with her husband, noted sculptor Marc Mellon. They have two children.