The Sculpture of Alexander Krivosheiw
As a boy, Brooklyn-born (b.1976), Alexander Krivosheiw (“crev-o-shay”) was drawn to movement and natural forms. He spent hours drawing and constructing pieces from “found objects” in his father’s garage. Experimenting, letting his mind wander and his imagination soar, he learned to realize his concepts, first in sketches and later in sculpture. He earned a B.A. with honors in sculpture from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He studied Greek mythology, social anthropology and archeology on the island of Crete. An internship with a marble sculptor in Greece confirmed his gift for working with stone.
Returning to his Brooklyn roots, Krivosheiw earned an apprenticeship with sculptor Kevin Barrett. Born into an artistic family, (his grandfather, Stan Barrett, was a successful painter), Barrett had literally carved out a successful career creating outsized three-dimensional abstract forms. After establishing a successful studio practice in Miami, Barrett shifted his base to Brooklyn where Krivosheiw worked with him for seven years, honing and shaping his own skills. “Kevin was a tremendous influence on my work,” Krivosheiw says. “His grandfather was a successful painter. I was deeply impressed with Kevin’s total commitment to his work, and with his striking abstract paintings and sculpture. The years I spent apprenticing with Kevin provided me with a platform for developing my own aesthetic.”
Alexander Krivosheiw “Le Rever Amour.”
Krivosheiw has an aptitude for combining materials like bronze and aluminum to create figurative and abstract silhouettes, which reflect an ethereal buoyancy. “There’s an element of old-world blacksmithing to this work,” he says. “I get deep satisfaction from working with my hands. One significant difference in my approach to working with metal is that I don’t heat the material. I prefer to hammer it out cold. While physically demanding and far more labor intensive than working with heated metal, I’m actually able to work faster. And I have more control over cold bronze and aluminum. Each hammer blow resonates with a physical sense of creation. Michelangelo spoke of ‘releasing the figure trapped within the stone.’ Working so intimately with metal gives me an almost visceral sense of breathing life into it. I am fascinated with the concept of crafting art with the potential for surviving far into the future.
“My connection to the physical process begins with a rough sketch,” Krivosheiw says. “I visualize the shapes and once I’ve got them down on paper, I’ll cut them out and begin fashioning them into three dimensional forms. I anticipate beginning the actual fabrication, but I’m not in a rush. There’s a delicate aspect to this stage that almost contradicts the impending physical challenge. I’ve discovered a surprising element of grace and almost fragility in assembling 20-foot high figures that weigh upwards of three tons. There’s a huge difference between driving rivets into steel girders for a building’s framework, and conceiving a work that expresses emotion or represents an idea. The hope is for the work to take on a meaning of its own, and truly speak to people who love and relate to it.”
Inspired by the sculptures of Rodin, Picasso, da Vinci, Henry Moore, and Antonio Canova, Krivosheiw began developing highly personalized iterations of works he admired. Beginning with rough sketches, he created maquettes, (small models made of bronze or aluminum) enabling him to test his ideas in a small, more experimental format – eventually using the best ideas for fully realized large-scale sculptures.
In 2006, Krivosheiw was awarded his first commission. Albert Garcia, a New York-based collector asked him to design a pair of bronze and painted glass doors for a dramatic archway leading to the dining room of his Upper West Side residence. Fabricated out of 3/32” Everdur Silicon Bronze, this oversized 102” high x 87” wide x 13” deep Garcia’s Doors installation consists of two doors, each weighing close to 350 lbs.; twelve painted glass panels inserted behind a dramatic winged dragon, and four framed bronze sections fitted beneath the 300 lb. bronze archway. Too large to be brought from Alexander’s Brooklyn studio to Mr. Garcia’s apartment, and, at 1100+ lbs., far too heavy to be brought upstairs in the building’s passenger elevator, Alexander was compelled to completely disassemble the immense work, have it delivered to the apartment in hundreds of pieces, and then painstakingly reassemble the doors.
The successful installation of Garcia’s Doors began a strong ‘word of mouth’ buzz about Krivosheiw’s work, and soon the young sculptor was accepting new commissions, which enabled him to support himself with his art.
In 2011, Krivosheiw’s personal life was shaken by a broken marriage. Disjointed, and anxious to start anew away from New York City, he reached out to his father. A former NYC police officer-turned successful entrepreneur, Ron Krivosheiw’s early advice to his artistic son was to “find real work, and sculpt on weekends.” Born with an undiagnosed learning disability (but an almost photographic memory), Krivosheiw (père) grew up in Brooklyn, and dropped out of high school to escape its “Blackboard Jungle” environment. Taking a job as a foot messenger for a Manhattan Photostat house, he spent his off hours learning to operate the complex camera. Passed over for a better job, he quit and took the NYC Police Department entrance exam, placing fourth in a field of nearly 6,000 applicants. In New York City, the turbulent 1960s were marked by high crime rates and violent civil rights demonstrations. Ron Krivosheiw was stabbed twice and shot in the line of duty.
Beyond his police work, Ron also developed an entrepreneurial vision. A sideline painting rain gutters turned into a serious business, when he discovered a waterproof paint being used on submarines at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He also originated the concept of aluminum siding for residential use, and sold his idea to Alcoa. In 1970, he formed Speed Graphics, a New York City digital printing company, which he built into a highly successful business.
Ron Krivosheiw watched with growing interest as Alexander’s artistic career began to show promise. When Ron learned about the divorce, he invited his son to move to his West Palm Beach home, and offered to help him build a full-scale studio. This marked a crucial turn in the young sculptor’s career path and also brought a third Krivosheiw into the picture.
Ron’s daughter, Christine, had been a force majeure behind the success of Speed Graphics. A spirited link between clients and creative services, she helped the company grow by developing invaluable relationships with movers and shakers throughout New York’s advertising and creative arts worlds. Detail oriented, attractive, smart, outspoken, motivated, loyal and trustworthy, Christine Krivosheiw was a natural to assume the business reins of her brother’s burgeoning studio. She moved to Florida and has been successfully running the day-to-day activity of “Alexanders Sculptures” since 2013. Her responsibilities range from client development to research and finance.
“Garcia’s Doors was an impressive calling card, and we eventually began to see serious interest from galleries in New York, Florida, Los Angeles, Chicago, and as far afield as Hamburg, Germany,” Christine says.
Moore’s Canova, installed in Taiwan residential tower.
“Alexander’s work was also being accepted by Art Basel Miami and other important group shows. Word of mouth led to more sales and higher-level commissions. Completed in 2014, Moore’s Canova, a monumental 25’ long x 10’ high by 8’ wide 3-ton work cast of silicon bronze was sold to the developers of a luxury high rise tower in Taiwan for over $800,000, and installed in an exquisite marble ‘great room.” Additionally, the entire edition of eight 24” x 61” by 19” Moore’s Canova maquettes was acquired by collectors. Calliope, a 138” x 72” x 78” piece of welded and painted aluminum was sold to Tara Cove, a community in West Palm Beach, Fla. “Late in 2015 we learned that members of the International Olympic Committee had been contemplating the development of a ‘legacy gift’ to IOC members and to the heads of state of the seventy international countries participating in the 2016 Olympics,” Christine continues. “Their initial inquiry led to a career-changing opportunity for Alexander, a commission to design and produce 100 President’s Trophies, which now grace the offices of such global figures as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and such renowned athletes as Olympic Gold Medal winner Usain Bolt. “
Alexander Krivosheiw with IOC president Thomas Bach.
“This summer, the positive response to Alexander’s President’s Trophy design led the IOC to offer Alexander a second assignment. He has been commissioned to create a monumental 10’ high x 25’ long interpretation of Olympics values,” Christine reveals. “To inspire and prepare him for this challenge, Alexander was invited to attend the Olympic Game Competition in Rio as an ‘Olympic Family Member.’ He met with the athletes, the visiting dignitaries, the trainers, and the entire IOC team responsible for coordinating the massive event. He watched the games from prominent locations at all the arenas, and from the stands, where he experienced and absorbed the spirit and tremendous enthusiasm of the fans. He was inspired by the camaraderie, the courage and the commitment of everyone associated with the Olympic Games,” she said. “It was an astonishing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Currently in design, the “Olympic Values” sculpture is planned for completion in 2018, and will be installed at the new IOC Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. It will reflect upon the waters of Lake Geneva, and be visible from the French Alps.
Commenting on Krivosheiw’s work, Dutch-born American sculptor Hans Van de Bovenkamp remarked, “Alexander Krivosheiw is an artist of vision and passion. His ideas are of a mature artist, and his craftsmanship is extraordinary in both casting and fabrication. I feel as though his career is unfolding on a global level and he is truly an artist to watch.”
Diane DeMell Jacobsen, Ph.D., recently acquired First Kiss, a 21” x 28” x 16.5”, 120-pound sculpture, comprised of nickel-plated, mirror polished bronze with a black base, which Krivosheiw completed in 2013. Describing the piece she said, “First Kiss instantly enchanted me. The moment I saw this beautiful sculpture I recognized its importance to American contemporary art. The gleaming reflections of the polished bronze and its sinuous form, coupled with the effects of light and shade made this an object of desire.
“As I spoke with Alexander, I was impressed with his artistry, draftsmanship, and technical training. His careful, fluid description of the process of cutting, hammering, welding and polishing was a captivating paradox of the strength and ingenuity needed to create such a delicate, evocative shape,” DeMell Jacobsen adds.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nancy Soderberg, recently acquired a Krivosheiw. “When my friend, American art collector Diane Jacobsen, sent me a digital photo of Calliope, I fell in love with it. It’s joyful, playful, and graceful,” Soderberg said. “I’d been looking for a sculpture for my entryway for some time and realized it was perfect.”
Sculptor Kevin Barrett adds, “I’ve known Alex for close to 20 years and have had the pleasure of having him work for me in my studio for 15 years. Creating art can be an arduous process. Alex quickly learned how to skillfully work through issues while keeping a positive attitude. His optimistic attitude toward life, his natural curiosity, and his creativity not only infuse his own work, they have also affected my work and outlook. The time we shared was memorable, and marked with great synergy and reciprocity. I am thrilled to see the progress he has made.”
“Alexander is incredibly prolific at this point,” Christine Krivosheiw says. “He is bursting with ideas and has a number of extremely ambitious projects in various stages of design and construction. An important part of my job is to cultivate new collectors, establish relationships with dealers and galleries around the world, and to seek out opportunities to place Alexander’s works in important and highly visible sites. We have been heartened by the Florida legislature’s decision to support the arts by passing a law requiring developers and builders to apportion a percentage of their construction budgets to art. We have already seen the value of this law in our sale to Tara Cove, and we hope to see many more of Alexander’s pieces gracing the approaches to new buildings throughout the state.”
“I have been extremely fortunate,” Alexander Krivosheiw confides. “There is an old adage that states if you love what you do you’ll never have to work a day in your life. The amazing encouragement from the IOC has been particularly gratifying. To have been invited as a guest of the 2016 Olympic Games was not only a fantasy come to life, it has totally altered my perception of the games. My first-hand experience of the intense devotion of the IOC team provided me with a tremendous appreciation of the complexities and demands they face. I know my personal experience at the Games will have a lasting effect on me.
“The physical, emotional and intellectual aspects of creating these large, weighty but hopefully beautiful and meaningful works are intense, but I don’t consider them burdens. I can’t wait to get to my studio every day, and what I’m doing is the opposite of hard labor. It’s challenging, and gritty, but incredibly rewarding. Perhaps the best part of building this career and body of work is having seen my dad become one of my biggest supporters,” Krivosheiw concludes. “He had doubts in the beginning, and they were justified, but recognizing the pride he takes in my accomplishments is beyond my ability to properly articulate. Perhaps I’ll find a way to express it in metal.”