Butterfly Kiss

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Client: Private Commission

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Completion date: 2017

Artwork budget: $35,000

Project Team

Artist

Mark Aeling

MGA Sculpture Studio

Client

Private Commission

Overview

“Butterfly Kiss” at first blush is a play on words. This sculpture consists of 550 stainless steel butterflies, each individually contoured to create an elaborate surface that forms a sensual pair of lips. The deeper meaning lies in the investigation of the collective unconscious as a kaleidoscope, the term for a group or gathering. The butterflies join together in mass to communicate the form of these lips, and remind the observer of the childhood practice of blinking on a loved ones cheek to impart a “butterfly kiss”.

This Stainless Steel sculpture is wall mounted and measures 12′ H x 12′ W x 2′ D.

Goals

'Butterfly Kiss' was created independent of any particular public art project, and purchased upon completion by the CURRENT Hotel, a Marriott boutique hotel in Tampa, Florida.

As part of Aeling’s ‘Lips’ Series, the goal was to investigate the influence of material on familiar objects. Each iteration of Lips considers how material impacts the communication of form; in this case, hundreds of metal butterflies merge to communicate one whole form - a larger-than-life set of lips. Though the material may be hard and more commonly associated with industry, the details create a sensual final piece that evokes sentimentality within the observer. Throughout his current body of work, Aeling investigates how much visual information is needed to convey a concept, fascinated by the human eye’s ability to complete a form with minimal information.

“These subtleties can have a great impact on the interpretation of the finished object. The fine-tuning of my process investigating materiality and texture is a lifelong pursuit.” - Mark Aeling

Process

Aeling’s ‘Lips’ Series addresses the influence of material on familiar objects. Each iteration considers how material impacts the communication of form.
In his current body of work, Aeling investigates how much visual information is needed to convey a concept, fascinated by the human eye’s ability to complete a form with minimal information. In this case, hundreds of butterflies converge to create a sensual pair of lips, using stainless steel, a hard material typically associated with industrial processes.

“I have spent many years studying the subtle nuances of form and texture and how they are translated through materials. These subtleties can have a great impact on the interpretation of the finished object. The fine-tuning of this process is a lifelong pursuit." - Mark Aeling