The small sculptures in this gallery are a wide variety of solid as well as assembled forms. Some of the figurative works depict activity, perhaps tell a story, or perhaps, may even be part of a larger narrative. Other sculptures are less detailed and reduced to the essential form, phrase, or image using the chosen material to define the character and unique qualities inherent in the materials.
In the two sculptural works by Augie N’Kele, the artist has assembled figures engaged in activity. Born into a society in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa, his works tell a story about cultural and historical experiences he witnessed firsthand in Congo.
“Familiarizing yourself with other cultures is the most powerful tool one can use to bring people together in harmony.” -Artist, A. N’Kele
Artist Jenny Holzer is a conceptual artist best known for text-based public art. She has used light and words to illuminate her work onto buildings, in Untitled (Selections from the Living Series) 1981, the cast bronze plaque serves as a statement about anonymity as well as a meditation on an approach to living free and unencumbered. The experience of her phrasing allows the viewer to interpret the message for themselves. Cast bronze lends an air of permanence, while the wording allows the reader to form their own conclusion. This statement, on what is seen as a kind of memorial, resonates with the modern world of advertisement, headlines, and sound bites.
During the 1950s while attending Baylor University, Jim Love fell in love with a junkyard in Waco, Texas. It was there that he discovered all sorts of discarded machinery and cast-iron odds and ends. He often referred to his “put-together” sculptures created from found objects as hybrid figures. This included welded iron and steel “bouquets” of metal flowers cast from metal brushes, disks, and pipes. These Dada-influenced assemblages were often later cast in bronze as is evidenced here. Dada was an art movement during WWI begun as a reaction to the horrors of war and brought out humor, laughter, spontaneity, and whimsy in the art produced. Dada artist René Magritte was a significant influence on Love, as were African art, Pre-Columbian art, and the work of Alexander Calder.
“…the unexpected thing that happens and abruptly adds a new idea. The accidents that take place on the way are as much a part of how a piece of art gets to its finish as is its own beginning. That is usually true for people as well. “ -Artist, Jim Dine, excerpt from the catalogue for ADJUSTMENTS Must Be Made Continually, Curated by Jim Edwards for The Nave Museum, Victoria, Texas.
Sculpture gives us the chance to see in three dimensions: form, materials, and relationships in and around the object. The dynamics of gesture, mass, space, and shadow allow for the viewer to experience the materials – in this case, metals – while also examining the artist’s decisions. Is it a realistic object? Does it have a story to tell? In what way has the artist used their material to the utmost? We hope you enjoy this look into small sculpture from the Art Museum of South Texas Permanent Collection.
-D. Fullerton, Curator of Exhibitions