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September 14, 2016
Visitors to New York City next month will have a rare opportunity to see the amazing gemstone creations of Chinese master sculptor Wallace Chan. The installation at the Park Avenue Armory from October 21-26 will mark the first time Chan has exhibited his work in New York.
Regarded as the world’s leading art fair, TEFAF New York Fall will showcase Chan's 7-foot-tall "Rise of Heart."
Crafted in titanium, the gemstone-intensive sculpture depicts what Chan calls the "queen of Chinese gardens" — the peony flower — encircled by graceful butterflies. The breathtaking work is embellished with 925 rubies (357 carats), 470 citrines (3,622 carats), 500 amethysts (1,078 carats) and a vibrant burst of yellow diamonds.
Chan notes on his website that the peony is a sign of spring, as well as a symbol of affection, feminine beauty, riches and honor. The airy butterflies are a symbol of beauty, love and joy.
“Do flowers attract butterflies or is it the other way round? I wonder about that relationship,” Wallace told a writer for the design blog, Lavender's Blue. “I’m always very curious! I like to study the sky and earth, to capture the universe in my works. The universe is my teacher!”
Also on display in New York will be 40 other Chan masterpieces. Some of his work is so vivid and lifelike that it looks like it could crawl away.
The world renowned Hong Kong-based artist is famous for developing "The Wallace Cut," a special technique he uses to carve a three-dimensional portrait into the non-faceted back of a gemstone. Using a dentist’s drill with a specially adapted blade, the sculptor grinds away at the gemstone to render a subject who seems to be looking in several directions at once.
The drill, which spins at 36,000 times per minute, generates so much heat that the process has to take place under cold water or else the stone could be easily damaged.
“It means I can’t see clearly when I’m cutting,” Chan told CNN. “It becomes a very repetitive process. I make one cut, take it out of the water to check it, dry the stone, check it again, and if it’s fine I put it back in the water and make another cut.”
At TEFAF (The European Fine Art Foundation) New York Fall, Chan will exhibit among 93 other experts representing a range of art from antiquity through the early 20th century.
Credits: Images via wallacechan.com.