Inside the Making of Scott Musgrove’s ‘The Sanctuary’ Triptych

by Andy SmithPosted on

Scott Musgrove’s 7.5-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide triptych “The Sanctuary” is finally complete. The artist spent nearly three years on the piece—made from oil on panel, wood, bronze, and glass—while simultaneously working on shows and other projects. (Musgrove was last featured on here.) Below, the artist shares exclusive commentary on the creation of this piece with Hi-Fructose.

“The original inspiration for ‘The Sanctuary’ started many years ago when I saw Frederic Church’s painting “Heart of the Andes” at The Met in NYC. At the time it was framed in a huge free-standing frame that was almost like a secular altarpiece. Rather than presenting a religious scene, it seem to be an altar where you could worship Nature itself. Since all of my work directly deals with nature, it had a big impact on me. So I started to come up with ideas of how I could do something in that vein that was connected to the work I do. I eventually settled on a triptych design and sketched on it for awhile when, by coincidence, a collector in Europe contacted me and said “Have you ever considered creating a triptych?”. Within an hour I sent him my rough sketches of what I had in mind. I’m very lucky and grateful that he was interested and gave me free reign to create exactly the piece I wanted.

“At that point I refined the idea and did very detailed drawings and designs which I sent to Sean Riley in Thailand to be hand-carved by his friend, PT. It took about 10 months to create the frames and I’m very happy with how they turned out. PT was able to perfectly bring the drawings to life in wood.

“Meanwhile I was working with Tony Bayne and the great folks at Metalphysic foundry in Tucson (who have been partners on all of my bronze pieces) to create the bronze elements for the triptych. They were instrumental in helping me create the three “Keeper” animals, each of which contain/protect a different grouping of species inside their glass heads. I also designed a bronze relief panel for the base of each frame as well as a ‘crown’ for each frame.

“My original idea was to make each frame of the triptych contain a particular grouping of animals, roughly speaking; flying animals, ground animals and water animals. But as I worked on the sketches for the painted panels, I found this too limiting. So I ended up being more liberal with how things were grouped and just went a bit more by feel of what I wanted to express.”

“The Sanctuary” will be shown in “Suggestivism: Resonance” at Spoke Art in New York City, running July 7 to July 28. (Photographs of “The Sanctuary” by Stephanie Brown.)

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