Monday, July 6, 2020

Family Sculpture

This piece has a lot of different names.  When Obama started coming to the Vineyard in 2009 I created it in I created it in a white cement over  foam and a steel rebar armature.  Everyone called it the "Obama Sculpture" because they could see that it was the Obama family with their dog Bo.

But to me this sculpture was my family back when Chris and Jenny were still young.  It was originally made in 1998 for Bill Clinton's visit to the Island in painted flat stock steel.   It was inspired by the way families would wait by the roadside to see the Clinton entourage pass by in their fleet of black SUVs with motorcycle cops leading the way.   In 1998 Chris and Jenny were 29 and way to big to stand on my shoulders, but I could imagine it.   Because of Viet Nam I have had a problem with waving the American flag, but I decided it was time the "good side" took back the flag.   And in 2009 I was feeling proud of America for electing a black man as President.

When everyone though the sculpture was the Obama family even though I had created it thinking of my family I finally realized that what I had created was an American Family.   That turns out to be  one of the main strengths of my "minimalist abstract figurative style".   The figures are not any particular people, they have no ethnicity or class,   It is up to the viewer to put into the figures whatever they want to see or feel.  As Degas said, "Art is not what you see, it is what you make others see."

    This is one of the reasons I wanted to have this piece made in the mirror finish stainless steel.  That way when people come up to it and look closely at the sculpture they will literally see themselves and their family in it.

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