Topography is the study of the earth’s surface, looking at the details and features and structure.  It is also the name of sculptor Barbara Sorensen’s new exhibition, which opened yesterday at the Orlando Museum of Art in Florida.

Barbara Sorensen“Shield de Pyrenees”
33″ x 34″ x 7″
Stoneware & Stones

Sorensen’s work beautifully echoes the textures of the earth, through her works created from clay, metals, and sometimes natural inclusions.

Barbara Sorensen“Siren I”
Approx. 7′ x 2′ x 2′ + 18″ base

Her bronze sculptures remind me of Michelangelo’s sculptures, the figures half-carved from marble block,  and his words: “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” It is as if her figures are emerging from the earth itself. After I wrote those words, I referred back to her website, and there are her thoughts, reflected right back to me:

“There is a primal force occurring as the forms emerge from the clay. I feel they are growing from the earth both metaphorically and visually.” -Barbara Sorensen

Barbara Sorensen“Boat” (III9)
20″ x 49″ x 18″
Stoneware, Stones & Silver Leaf

Sorensen’s work is inspired by things she has seen in her travels, hiking in Spain, flights over the Rocky Mountains, treks through the canyons of Utah and snorkeling expeditions in New Zealand. Her work is widely varied, as you will see if you visit her website.  Throughout all the various mediums she uses in her art,  there is a feeling of the substance and permanence of the earth. See more:  Want to do a virtual tour of the exhibition in Orlando?  It’s only three minutes:  Click here. I especially like the very last piece at the end, where some type of lighting is set up to look like light and reflection moving over the piece.

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