Up Close and Personal: The Ultra-Realistic Sculpture of Marc Sijan

May 17 through August 12, 2018

The Muskegon Museum of Art will present Up Close and Personal: The Ultra-Realistic Sculpture of Marc Sijan May 17 through August 12, 2018. Milwaukee-based sculptor Marc Sijan is internationally recognized for his hyper-realistic, life-sized sculptures of the human figure. Pores, veins, hair follicles, moles, and all the intricate and imperfect details of the human form are revealed in his works. The exhibition will feature multiple full-size figures, accompanied by head and shoulder busts.


MMA Senior Curator Art Martin comments, “Often depicting everyday subject matter, from overweight beach goers to resting security guards, Sijan infuses his materials with pathos and empathy. Caught in quiet narratives, the sculptures invite surprise, followed by lengthy interaction and examination from the viewer.”

In describing his inspiration, Sijan points to the millennia long history of artists expressing the human form in every media imaginable, of an enduring fascination with the “mirroring of life.” Sijan begins his sculptures by developing a story or concept, then looks for a model that best embodies the narrative he wants to convey. He prefers to work with those he describes as “everyday” people whose features he considers unique.

A cast is made directly from the model, and a plaster replica created. The plaster is altered and corrected as needed, with the most focus placed on the face, as Sijan considers the face to be a visual record of a person’s life experiences. A polyester resin is cast from the plaster to create the final sculpture, which the artist then details with up to fifteen layers of oil paint, effectively simulating the translucency of skin. Hair, props, clothing, and prosthetic eyes are used to fill in the final details.

The resulting sculpture is meant to be a record of form and spirit. It is the artists’ intent to create a persona of an individual witnessed at a single moment of living, with whom the viewer might interact. The narrative is left deliberately hidden, a mystery to be solved from the clues offered by pose, expression, prop, and detail.

Sijan received a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education in 1968 and a Master of Science in Art in 1971, both from the University of Wisconsin. His works have appeared at major art institutions, including the Smithsonian Museum of Modern Art in Washington, D.C, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. He has been featured in over 60 one-person shows in the U.S. and internationally, many of which broke previous attendance records.

The Muskegon Museum of Art is located at 296 W. Webster Ave., in downtown Muskegon, Michigan. muskegonartmuseum.org.

Marc Sijan, Kneeling and Marc Sijan, Seated Guard

Underwritten by Hooker DeJong.

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Media Sponsor is WGVU Public Media.