Three Rivers Arts Festival
This abstract sculpture was created for the Three Rivers Arts Festival. It references the ancient Greek sculpture the Discobolus of Myron, although the artist uses the relationship of positive and negative space to define the figure. Unlike the Greek sculpture, the discus thrower in Nash’s Discobolus is perceived by viewing the space inside of the wooden form.
Discobolus is the fourth piece in my “Dialogue” series. As the title suggests, the series is about conversation and interaction between two or more beings. It represents the cause and the consequence of an exchange of ideas between our male (animus) and female (anima) counterparts. The cause is the existence of differing opinions between the two, and is represented by massive forms which are engaged in manifest and confrontation. The consequence emerges from this duel, creating a hero within us all, and is represented by the negative space between the anima and the animus figures. In this particular piece, the discus thrower Discobolus is the hero within; symbol of strength, hope and determination.
Nash said this about the work to the Sewickley Herald in 1988:
What is created from the tension in the negative space between is the hero.
The Discobolus of Myron (“discus thrower”, Greek: Δισκοβόλος, Diskobólos) is a Greek sculpture completed at the start of the Classical Period, figuring a youthful ancient Greek athlete throwing discus, circa 460–450 BC. The original Greek bronze is lost but the work is known through numerous Roman copies, both full-scale ones in marble, which was cheaper than bronze, such as the first to be recovered, the Palombara Discobolus, and smaller scaled versions in bronze.
A discus thrower depicted is about to release his throw: “by sheer intelligence”, Kenneth Clark observed in The Nude, “Myron has created the enduring pattern of athletic energy. He has taken a moment of action so transitory that students of athletics still debate if it is feasible, and he has given it the completeness of a cameo.” The moment thus captured in the statue is an example of rhythmos, harmony and balance. Myron is often credited with being the first sculptor to master this style. Naturally, as always in Greek athletics, the Discobolus is completely nude. His pose is said to be unnatural to a human, and today considered a rather inefficient way to throw the discus. Also there is very little emotion shown in the discus thrower’s face, and “to a modern eye, it may seem that Myron’s desire for perfection has made him suppress too rigorously the sense of strain in the individual muscles,” Clark observes. The other trademark of Myron embodied in this sculpture is how well the body is proportioned, the symmetria.
The potential energy expressed in this sculpture’s tightly wound pose, expressing the moment of stasis just before the release, is an example of the advancement of Classical sculpture from Archaic. The torso shows no muscular strain, however, even though the limbs are outflung. (Discobolus source: Wikipedia)