artist of the day #24: George Segal

I’m going to throw back the clock a bit today. I want to talk about the work of George Segal. He is one of many artists whose work I have seen a hundred times, but never sat down to really contemplate and pick apart. Segal was active in the Pop-Art movement and pioneered the use of plaster bandages, previously only used for making medical casts and such. His works were often shown in public places like parks and street corners rather than museums and galleries. He would do the casting in pieces and then reassemble to make the whole. He would typically leave the rough surface of the casting, and for the first part of his career he left all of his sculptures white.

His work was about documenting an event in a new kind of way. Whether it was telling the story of the holocaust, or about two gay lovers sitting on a park bench, he froze those moments in time for us to contemplate. The rough and ghostly finish of his pieces gave them a very haunting sense of a spirit still intact.

Further into his career he began to become more experimental. Shying away from his white only sculptures he began to paint them bold monochromatic colors and even finished some in bronze. He also began to play with form, not just taking a full body cast, but playing with partial molds and having them interact with their environment like in Girl on a Chair. And he would begin to tell stories of imaginary events like Superman at a party with Cleopatra in his most unusual piece, Costume Party.

Segal Worked right up until his death in 2000. He was apart of the famous John Cage “happenings” and his work can be found all over the world. Click this link to hear him talk about his Costume Party and his perception of color: