Monday, May 4, 2009

George Rickey

If I sat down to make a short-list of Kinetic Sculptors, the second name on that list would be George Rickey.

Like Alexander Calder, Rickey had some training in engineering, and the large-scale outdoor sculptures that made him famous clearly reflect an engineered geometrical approach in their design - such as the swinging blades and rotating cubes that moved effortlessly and unexpectedly on the gimbals he created.

Rickey brought a minimalist approach to kinetic sculpture. His work was more subtle and serious looking than Calder's. While Calder's outdoor mobiles seemed to be adaptations of indoor designs that were scaled up and strengthened for outdoor display, Rickey's work was conceived at the outset to be harmonious with the wind and elements that would move, illuminate, and weather them.

George Rickey - cubes
George Rickey - blades

This is not to say that Rickey was merely an outdoor sculptor. In fact, I'm a big fan of his earlier works such as his “carousel” series which were exquisitely delicate, colorful, and playful.

George Rickey - carousel
George Rickey
George Rickey

I encourage you to find a copy of "George Rickey - The Early Works", where you can see more of these amazing pieces and trace Rickey's development through the many photos that show his growth as an artist, moving from his earliest Calder-like mobiles on up to his later designs.

Also recommended is a visit to Indianapolis this summer to see a special exhibit of Rickey's works from his estate in East Chatham, New York. You can find out more about this exhibit and read an interview with Phillip Rickey, George's son, also a fine sculptor here:

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