The Mobile Museum of Art exhibition represents a selection
of my Vertical Motif series, begun in 1976 and continued today.
Each Vertical Motif is made from one half inch steel plate, cut
with an acetylene torch, then arc welded together. Edges of the
Þnished elements are ground down, then all the pieces are
sandblasted and coated with primer paint. Several coats of weather-resistant
þat black paint complete the process.
All my sculptures are preceded by ink and gouache drawings on Arches paper. I consider this an integral part of the working process and the drawings themselves are valid works. You will see such drawings in the exhibition.
Macquettes smaller metal models for sculpture but, again, works in their own right are here as well, lending yet a different scale to the series.
Primary sources of my imagery come from what I see every day which evoke response and quick pencil sketches of shapes and forms. It is these sketches which translate into colored working drawings, varied colors on the two-dimensional paper representing planes in the eventual three-dimensional piece. I tack these drawings up in my studio and begin making the sculptures.
Interpretations of the sculptures are left to the viewer, subject to their own unlimited fantasies.
The analogy of a pebble thrown into a pond which creates expanding
circles applies to contemporary sculpture placed in unfamiliar
Such is the case with the Hartwick College exhibition where the works are placed near often-used campus pathways, creating responses among viewers that range from startled or puzzled to then familiarity and acceptance.
Sculptures seen in all kinds of light and in a natural environment are quite different from pieces shown in art galleries. In time perhaps they incite some expansion of the viewer's response to art works, with an awakening of curiosity and interest in this realm of expression.
My sources of imagery are in nature, that which I see and am attracted to. Forms and shapes then combine into sculpture with an imagery of its own.
Exhibitions challenge the artist to create a configuration of objects that give a new identity to the space while forming an underlying unity of pieces complementing one another.
Open air exhibitions afford viewers a more approachable venue in that sculptures are not confined within a museum but seen against the sky and in a natural setting. Viewers can confront the pieces uninhibitedly, view them from all angles, and make their own comparisons.
This exhibition covers a range of work, both in monochromatic black and in multicolored pieces. The similar colors and shapes of the polychromed sculptures create an overall harmony of its own, while the black pieces stand out more as silhouettes or grilles against the surrounding background.
The interpretation of the pieces I leave to the viewer's own imagination, while the titles of each piece may be helpful, they are not limiting.
The sculptures in this exhibition cover a range of my work
and encompass most of my series of pieces. Each sculpture begins
with the ink and gouache drawings that I do each day. The forms
and shapes, and their interaction, are delineated on paper, with
the color showing each different form. The drawing with the arrangement
of shapes that I Þnd most engaging is then tacked up on
my studio wall and used as the working drawing from which I make
The drawings themselves are derived from copious notebooks of sketches that I make to depict objects and shapes that I respond to in nature and the environment around me.
All the sculptures in this exhibition are made from mild steel, cut with an acetylene torch, then arc welded, ground with a grinder, and sandblasted. Later they are painted with several coats of primer and weather resistant colors. The coloration of the pieces is determined by what I see in the shapes themselves.
And through the pieces have individual titles I leave the interpretation of each to the realm of the viewer's imagination.
The sculptures are out in the open and can be viewed under different weather and light conditions as they are all made for out of door exposure. I have a strong conviction about art in public areas where it can be seen and enjoyed in uninhibiting surroundings.
The concept and installation of this exhibition are my son David's doing, aided by my other son, John Marc and coordinated with the efforts of Dahlia Morgan and Duane Brant. I am most grateful to them all.
The sculptures are a selection from my current work; developed from drawings that I make daily, the forms based on those I see in nature. A combination of these individual forms makes the completed sculptures.
The sculpture begins with drawings of chosen forms on sheets of mild steel, then cutting out of the drawn forms with an acetylene torch. I then grind the cut pieces, smoothing them somewhat, but not so much that they no longer resemble natural forms. Prepared pieces go together with an arc welder, assembled into the sculpture's ultimate form. There may be a bit more grinding and smoothing. The piece is then ready for several coats of primer paint, and then its final color(s).
These small pieces are sculptures in their own right, each
with a presence of its own, a three-dimensional realization of
the concept I had when making the original drawings. But certain
of them, in addition, will serve as models, enlarged to scale
for larger works, up to a scale of one inch to one foot. My sculpture
in front of the Hartford Public Library, for example, at seventeen
and a half feet and six tons, was enlarged from a piece such as
those you see here.
The challenge, as I encounter a new space, is to "see" the sculpture that complements a given site. The Sasaki exhibition has provided a variety of spaces, of differing sizes and configurations - the best of challenges, and one I have taken happily. Fifteen sculptures in fifteen places, each a unique siteing.
True, fifteen is not a number for its own sake, not is twenty - the number of working years that the exhibition spans. But the welcome availability of fifteen good places has made possible this overview of my last two decades as a sculptor. Not least, it gives me the opportunity to reflect on those two decades in hospitable surroundings, away from the necessary chaos of my working studio. I am better able to see how the pieces activate the spaces, and create a viable component of what is, in its own right, a working environment.
Works of art must be available to people, a principle behind most of the exhibitions I have done. I have placed sculptures in locations as diverse as a public park in Fitchburg and along a walking path at Dartmouth College, all with the same goal - let people see and interact with the work on their own terms, and not because it is good for them. It may or may not be good for them - that is, make their day more rewarding. I don't know, but I do know that art by the pathways or in the workplace is accessible art, and most feedback tells me that this is positive.
The current Sasaki exhibition serves as an example of my sense of art and people. Try it yourself, letting simple reactions tell you a bit. I hope that you, too, will find the experience positive.
When Sculpture is placed on sidewalks and open spaces of a city it creates a confrontation between object and viewer; the viewer is forced to make a judgement about the piece in their path - it is there, right there, and can't be entirely ignored. One hopes, at best, that this experience brings an expansion of the viewer's horizons and perhaps even an aesthetic reaction.
The Stamford sculptures were selected to occupy specific locations, to encounter people at a point which invites interaction, in the cityscape and, too, within Stamford Town Center, A reciprocity between the object and its setting is intended overall, an effect of visual orientation of the sculptures creating continuity and visual Harmony.
The pieces in this exhibition are from my Screen Sculpture series, begun in 1976 and continuing. They were selected not only for their relationship to the site but for their compatibility with one another. Several of my most recent works are represented, with earlier pieces establishing a continuity.
The interplay between solid and void attracts me, and the vocabulary of forms that comprise the sculptures is enriched daily by discoveries that I find in nature. The selection of natural forms, the positioning of those forms in relation to each other and to their voids are what make the Screen Sculpture series an ongoing challenge for me.
The pieces in this exhibition are from my Screen Sculpture series begun in 1976 and continuing. They were selected not only for their relationship to the site but for their compatibility with one another. Several of my most recent works are represented with earlier pieces, establishing a continuity.
The interplay between solid and void attracts me, and the vocabulary of forms that comprise the sculptures is enriched by discoveries that I find in nature. The selection of natural forms, the positiing of those forms in relationship to each other and to their voids are what makes the Screen Sculpture series an ongoing challenge for me.
This selection of screen sculpture represents a cross section of the series which I began in 1975, a series particularly reþecting my interest in nature's ever-changing interplay of forms. The attempt is to give the pieces a sense of articulation and vitality that stems from interactions of the original shapes as I Þnd them in nature.
The play of solid against void, one as important as the other, and the changing effect of shadows, reinforced by repeat shadows cast upon the ground, are concomitant with those interactions in the original forms.
Essentially the intention of this exhibition has been to activate a variety of library spaces with sculpture. Although the combination of books and sculpture seems unlikely, the example of some of David Smith's work aside, the stacks of volumes are monoliths in their own right and relate to the spaces around them as much as do certain forms of contemporary sculpture.
There is an almost surreal quality to sculpture placed in formerly vacant places and a sense of familiarity with the objects comes only with time and daily viewing. For much as sculpture changes the space and atmosphere within it so that a reciprocal relationship develops between the space and the object, so also does a similar relationship arise between the viewer and the object. The placing of objects in everyday settings allows this relationship between the viewer and the work of art to develop.
Over a period of time a familiarity with the object ensues and it is this familiarity that tempers the awareness of the viewer after initial reactions have subsided. Carried a step futher it is this familiarity with works of art in the everyday context and flux of life that allows the viewer to react more openly to other works be they in familiar or unfamiliar settings.