I first encountered sculptures of Claude Needham while working in the Mill Street Gallery in Grass Vally, Ca. They were stone sculptures, made of alabaster, some of them big and heavy to move. What struck me then, and still to this day does, is the unbelievable smoothness of them. I can't even imagine sanding anything that much to have it be so smooth. Your hand will just glide on the form, wanting to follow it everywhere, all around and you wish it would just turn sometimes...and it seems to not have a beginning or end...the only limitation is the actual mass of it and resulting difficulty in actually moving it. It's a sensual delightful experience, and in a strange kind of way, you end up falling in love with the sculpture, that form, as you can feel it. It's not that they don't look beautiful or real, it's just that touching them and allowing our hands to follow the shape is amazing and, at least for me, can put me into a different space altogether. I love it. It makes the sculpture come alive in a way that the mere visual just does not do for me. I used to have a favorite, don't know what became of it - it's not on the website.
Here is a sentence from the artist's statement which makes sense as it matches my experience: "My artistic efforts typically stem from a mood of compassion and adoration of the piece that lies veiled in the undeveloped form. Liberating these inherent forms is enough onto itself." And somewhere it says: ...and this is when I fall in love with the piece...." I so hope that is true.
From the artist's website:
Claude Needham (a.k.a. Xxaxx, born: 9-2-51, Sacramento, CA) is an artist, writer, scientist, editor, gold miner, teacher, sculptor, painter, tree planter, programmer, web-developer, jeweler, author, screen writer, museum curator, game designer, and.... did I mention artist?Imho, and as you might have guessed, seeing them alone does not reveal the nature of these forms :), but take a look at some other Alabaster sculptures by Claude Needham
For a different type of sculpture, check out his Dorjes. I have not had the pleasure to touch them, or for that matter, really ever gotten a chance to see them other than online. They look like altar pieces to me, or for that matter, functional magical implements.