Image by Lydia Bitter-Baird

Image by Lydia Bitter-Baird

Exploring the casting process:
Lydia Musco’s Unconformity series

Just outside our front door stands Fourth Unconformity by Lydia J Musco. Seated on top of a wooden pedestal, the five-and-a-half-foot tall sculpture is part of her Unconformity series and welcomes visitors as they enter the gallery.  Created from layers of cast concrete, the laborious process of creating Fourth Unconformity started with a series of large scale drawings. 

Using ink and graphite on paper, Lydia created multiple drawings to study form, repetition of line accumulation, and scale. From there, she constructed a wooden form based on the drawing studies. It’s the inside of the hollow space that will cast each layer of the sculpture. Upon completion, the piece can be unassembled and reassembled layer by layer. 

To create the concrete, Lydia blends together Portland cement, sand, and water using an electric mixer. While the material is still wet, powder pigment (mostly iron oxides), are added in to provide the colors you see in the concrete. Then, starting with the base, the wood form is gradually assembled in small sections as each layer of concrete is poured in and smoothed out with a trowel and covered with plastic sheeting. 

After a few weeks, the wooden form is removed piece by piece. The concrete layers are chiseled apart and annotated, serving as instructions for the reassembly. Once the piece is complete, the wood forms are cleaned and repaired then stowed, ready to cast the next sculpture.