SMALL FORMS AND SHAPES

1983-90



This group of sculptures needs little comment since it consists of basic shapes, which simply are what they are. The first five pieces are a series working with the possibilities in large bent tubes, arranged in various positions and relationships. The first two pieces look especially good standing on a framed mirror, since they show as full rings sunks somehow into the table or stand.

These first five pieces were made as a series, all are about ten inches tall.



SMOOTH CROSSINGS

Steel 11 in/29



NESTED CROSSINGS

Steel 12 in/30



TOUCHING

Steel 12 in/31



CRAWLING

Steel 18 in length/32



STANDING

Steel 24 in/33



RINGS I

Steel bent rod 10 in/37



RINGS II

Steel bent rod 10 in/38



BLUE EYES

Steel 7 in/42

This piece of only six inches is massive in its tight form, a heavy and solid steel block with an inserted wedge. By having "eyes" it moves back and forth between a figure and a form as you look at it.



UPRIGHT

Steel
sections 12 in/47

Only a foot tall, this construction of massive forms joins square sections with a formed curve and stands firm, absolutely immutable. The deeply pitted surface etched in the acid-air they send us from Illinois, gives a sense of permanence and age. The same piece from the other side follows:



UPRIGHT from the back

reverse of previous/71



CONSTRUCTING WITH FIGURES

Steel, figures 12 in./72

The small figure of a man sawing out the floor from under himself is really secondary to the idea of this piece, which is about two feet tall and another study in the upright feeling. Tall and thin but very heavy, this contrasts with the minute mass of the insect-like Man trying to do his foolish thing. Such is life!



QUICKSAND

Cast lead, 5 in. width//66

I include this little cast lead piece here to mention the ancient technique of casting sculpture in lead, which is one of the most permanent of metal materials. Lead has been cast, hammered into plates, welded with a low-heat torch and olive oil at the joints, for millennia. It is only now in the wake of our discovery of traditional white-lead paint as a serious poison, along with the tetra-ethyl lead used for three quarters of a century in billions of gallons of gasoline, that we have recoiled from even mentioning lead. Lead has a wonderful color, is safe to work if you wear gloves and wash hands, and it can be copper plated easily to make a "bronze", after chasing in detail. I know this will not change anyone's fears, but I do love lead.---- The idea of a man trying to extricated himself from quicksand or a pool of concrete may be much more fearsome than old Pb. itself.



HOLE GAUGE

Aluminum turned 6 in/69

This piece of aluminum was turned on a metal lathe, while thinking of the sort of precision gage used to make a "go/no" fit in a precision hole. Fitted into a mahogany box lined with plush, it is always a surprise and a question: Now what is this?



PRIDE !

Steel sheet 32 in/91

Although this is basically a form as such, the arch at the back and the thrust as front-middle does suggest a macho pride in something which is probably insignificant after all.



William Harris
Prof. Em. Middlebury College
www.middlebury.edu/~harris