BioOver 40 years ago, as a student, I traveled by ship to 18 countries around the world on a college program now known as Semester at Sea. Each port had major museums containing creations that recorded the character and consciousness of the society. My childhood on a great plains ranch was filled with the making of utilitarian objects and midway on the voyage, the two connected and I found my vocation.
Upon returning I began my artistic journey by creating what I knew. Wagons, windmills, old stone houses and people of the prairie were first, created with fragments of wood, canvas and metal.
These assemblage sculptures led to a 1972 show at the Hancock Center in Chicago, a photo and article in the Chicago Tribune, and culminated in a 20 x 9 commission for Stanley Home Products corporate headquarters in Massachusetts.
Next I explored the prairie landscape, sculpted in metal, canvas and stone. These grew into massive commissions: 3 x 40 for the National Cemetery Service and 5 x 60 for a regional bank system.
I longed for something more immediately expressive and began working with clay, soon moving to cast bronze. Native American friends were my first subjects and resulted in a body of work and show at the A.B. Clossen Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Prairie Edge Gallery in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
I began a continuing study of the human form that led to dozens of life size figurative sculptures and gave me an opportunity to create and cast perhaps the largest stainless casting of its time, the 27 Resurrection for the Archdiocese of Omaha.
A series of fortuitous events led to a portrait of Burl Ives, and then Bob and Dolores Hope, Walter Annenburg, George McGovern and others until now, over dozens of life size portraits later, I find myself fascinated by the challenge.
Through the Hopes, I had the opportunity to design and create a two-room chapel and several sculptures at the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, D.C.
As I progressed I began to see recurring lyric gestures, certain textures and volumes. Ive always believed that style should grow out of the process, so I began to distill it down to the gesture, looking for grace and simple elegance of line. I found that it existed all around me; in windswept prairie grasses and the meander of a river .
The natural process of water, and wind, and erosion became my study and my expression.
Throughout, I have maintained my appreciation of human dignity and form, often writing it large.
But increasingly, I find myself working with found objects, creating a context that supports and clarifies, and creating a dialogue.
40 years later, discovery is still the primary experience. New ideas,insight, faces, stones, materials and processes continue the impulse I felt so many years ago.
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