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When I am asked which artists were early influences on my work as an artist, my first response is to say Salvador Dali and Gaston Lachaise. I saw Dali's 'Apparition of a Fruit Bowl' at a museum in New York while on a high school field trip in the early 1960's, and was fascinated by his ability to mesh unrelated forms and somehow have them make visual sense (or non-sense, as the case may be). As for Lachaise, I was drawn to his powerful female figures and his ability to make heavy forms appear to be seemingly weightless. But there is another artist that should be included on my list... Rube Goldberg. I appreciate his work as the cartoonist who concocted countless cock-eyed crazy inventions and gadgets, but he was also an accomplished sculptor who did serious bronze works in addition to his more humorous pieces.
I like to think that I can see elements that are reminiscent of Goldberg's improbable, but somehow believable, mechanisms in both my 'Chutes n' Balls' bronze sculpture and my 'Portrait of the Artist' ceramic piece. Some of the balls would never fit through some of the openings, and some chutes have no entrances, some are without exits, but both can appear to be plausible. The clambering and entangled figures in my ceramic piece 'Verticle Scrum' remind me of a crowded and compacted version of the stacked cartoon figures featured in the Reuben Award designed by Goldberg.
There are certainly many cartoonists who
are also accomplished fine artists, but it was Rube Goldberg whose sense of humor, imagination, and sculpting skills combined to provide another dimension to the artistic development of a 'young-ish' Connecticut woman in the 1970's.
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** For additional 'Chutes' and 'Portrait' information and images - see my blog entries for
9/6/12, 2/6/13, and 3/11/13, as well as the slideshow section of my website.