ROYAL MIREE, Metal Sculptor
Royal Miree is an Alabama artist creating mesmerizing metal art. His sculptural artwork involve copper and steel fashioned to entice the viewer into an interactive transfer of energy. “They invite you to touch and play with them, and they’ll fall into motion. It’s all meant to be interactive,” says Miree.
Miree found a world of adventure in his grandfather’s toolbox, making toys from spare parts at an early age. “I’ve always been a tinkerer,” he said, “I would take toys apart and think ‘here’s what it’s supposed to do, but can it do something else?’ ” As a teenager in 1984, Miree worked as an apprentice with metal sculptor Edward Lee Hendricks whose early influence still impacts him today.
The kinetic works are meticulously balanced to rotate for more than half an hour with a single push. The copper oxidizes with heat application into stunning greens and blues, a dynamic variable determined by the metal’s texture or the pollution in the air. Miree’s designs have been inspired by dance poses which he calls his “Language of Dance.”
Sculptures are independent creations of how I express a situation, an idea or event. Materials, shapes and compositions are chosen to give form and a feeling to that inspiring idea behind each sculpture. The attempt is to focus on one or two structural elements to define an overall form. Put kinda artsy….’A mechanic interpretation for single point concept drawing from history, mythology and life experience by shape, form and color in motion’….
The techniques of construction push the boundary of traditional process and develop new avenues for metal color and texture. Adventurous designing magnifies pattern and form. Color is dynamic and shifts in the viewing. Surfaces are dimensional yet smooth to the touch. I encourage you to explore and feel the sculptures.
Rotational sculptures are wall mounted on a ball bearing assembly and precisely balanced to allow for smooth rotation periods approaching thirty minutes from a single push. Each rotational sculpture is designed about a particular radius and with minimal components to accentuate the visual and mechanical flow of elements. Raw stainless steel, copper and aluminum is hand formed and polished to a mirror finish in a six stage process.
Sculpture materials are mirror polished stainless steel, polished aluminum and acid etched steel. Long arcing arms reach out from the central axis to intersect with copper fan elements with varied methods of attachment. The upper fan is greater in form and mass than the lower fan to visually contrast the viewer’s expectation of balance. The counter balance elements are set in a minimum of two opposing axis and the upper counterweight slides on opposed axis paired within an arc element. (As an example….shifting a counterweight up could cause the sculpture to shift balance to the left.) This arrangement gives a smooth motion throughout the rotation.
Engraved copper works are pure copper sheet, starting with an acidic cleaning bath and then sketching the image onto the copper surface with ink. Razor knives and small grinding wheels are used to define the major outlines of the image. Choosing from over fifty other tools, I will begin to engrave the finer details of the image by overlapping one type of texture over another. This gives contrast and depth to the image and reflects light to reveal textures from many points of view, kind of like a hologram. With the engraving done, I begin heating isolated areas of the surface with a blow torch to develop oxidation colors in the copper. The duration, frequency, intensity and angle of the torch flame creates the color and the type of engraved texture being heated has an impact on how the color develops as well. The entire copper panel is heated in an oven and then the clear enamels are applied in several coats with the piece returning to the ovens for a full cure.
Public and Commercial Installations
–North Pavilion- UAB Hospital (Birmingham, AL) – 16’x16’ kinetic pendulum sculpture. Medium: stainless steel, aluminum, copper and enamel.
— Patient Discharge- UAB Hospital (Birmingham, AL) – Four sculptures: One 22’x10’and three each 8’x3’. Medium: enamel, stainless steel and aluminum. .
— Volker Plaza- UAB Hospital (Birmingham, AL) – Two free standing wind sculptures 20’x8’. Medium: stainless steel and aluminum.
— Barber Motorsports Museum (Leeds, AL) – motorized kinetic sculpture with secondary magnetic movements. 18’x8’ Medium: stainless steel, aluminum and enamel.
— Southwest Power Pool (Little Rock, AR) – Free motion pendulum for front atrium space. 20’x20’. Medium: stainless steel, aluminum, copper and steel.
— Ogletree Deakins Law Firm (Birmingham, AL) – Free motion pendulum sculpture for main entry lobby. 7’x3’. Medium: stainless steel, aluminum and enamel with secondary magnetic movements.
— Hy-Grade Valve Engineering (Fairhope, AL) – Free motion pendulum sculpture for main entry lobby. 4’x4’. Medium: stainless steel, diamond aluminum, steel and enamel with secondary magnetic movements.
— Dell Consulting Engineers (Pensacola, FL) – Dual rotating pendulum sculpture 4’x5’. Medium: engraved copper, aluminum and stainless steel.
— Taylor Martino Law Firm (Mobile, AL) –Free motion pendulum sculpture for main entry lobby. 6’x6’. Medium: engraved copper, stainless steel, enamel and aluminum.
— Fred Levin Law Firm (Pensacola, FL) – rotating sculpture for main entry. 6’x6’. Medium: acid etched steel, aluminum, stainless steel and engraved copper.
— Andrews Sports Medicine (Birmingham, AL) – Main entry sculpture. Medium: stainless steel, aluminum and engraved copper.
— Memorial Health Systems (Chattanooga, TN) – Patient reception lobby. 5’x5’ Medium: aluminum, stainless steel and enamel.
— Restaurant 26 (Birmingham, AL) – Water feature kinetic 12’x7’. Medium: stainless steel and aluminum.
— Weatherly Commercial Center (Hoover, AL)- Triple motion sculpture for main entry lobby. 7’x3’. Medium: stainless, aluminum, engraved copper and stone.
— Artscape Inc, (Chicago, Il) – Pendulum sculpture 4’x4’. Medium: aluminum, stainless steel and enamel.
— Medicore Surgical Devices (Kohler, WI) – Multiple point pendulum sculpture 6’x6’. Medium: acid etched steel, aluminum, brass and stainless steel.
Awards & Recognition:
Sculpture Award- Great Gulf Coast Art Show, FL 2010, 2012, 2014
Sculpture Award- Contemporary Arts Center of Virginia, 2007, 2009, 2011
Sculpture Award- Oconomowoc Art Show, WI 2011, 2014
Best of Show – Fountain City Arts, AL 2010, 2014
Best of Show (Sculpture) – Gulf Breeze Arts, FL 2010
Best of Show (Sculpture) – St. Stephens Art Show, FL 2010, 2014
Best of Show – Eastern Shore Chamber Commerce, AL 2006, 2008, 2011, 2014
Best of Show (Sculpture) – Durham Arts Council, NC 2014
Best of Show (Sculpture) – Mt. Gretna Art Show, PA 2009
Best of Show (Sculpture) – Gold Coast Art Show, IL 2009
Best of Show (Sculpture) – Glenview Art Show, IL 2009
Best of Show (Sculpture) – Woodlands Art Show, TX 2009
Best of Show – Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces, GA 2008, 2014
Sculpture Award- Association of Visual Arts, TN 2008, 2014
Best in Show (Sculpture)- Atlanta Dogwood Art Show, GA 2008
Best in Show (Sculpture)- Talbot Street Art Show, IN 2014
Best in Show (Sculpture)- ARTV International Art Competition
Best in Show (Sculpture)- Toledo Gardens, OH 2007
Best in Show (Sculpture)- Licolnshire Art Show, IL 2007