artist / participant
This fall the new galleries and sculpture garden of the Stieren Center for Exhibitions showcase a revelatory exhibition of the kinetic sculptures of George Rickey, the noted American artist who died six years ago at the age of 95.
The occasion is George Rickey Kinetic Sculpture: A Retrospective, a major exhibition organized by the Vero Beach Museum of Art in Florida and first shown there last year. It has been nearly 30 years since such an assembly of the artist's work has been seen by the public.
Nearly 50 indoor and outdoor works are installed at the McNay, demonstrating the artist's expressive use of movement and the relationship between his kinetic work and the natural world. A special focus of the exhibition is Rickey's largescale geometric work, placed in the sculpture garden so that components move and separate, creating a poetry of motion and dramatizing the tension the artist created for the viewer.
Indoor galleries feature sculptures beginning with early kinetic works created in the 1950s, when Rickey experimented with machine-like movement and the dramatic crisis that occurs when one moving part narrowly misses another by a hair. His oeuvre from the mid-1960s and 70s to his death is also represented by large geometric forms, many incorporating open frames. Rectangles, solid planes with long tapered blades, triangles, circles, and cubes all move gently in the ambient air currents.
George Rickey was born on June 6, 1907, in South Bend, Indiana, but moved to Scotland with his family at age 6. He was educated in England and France and graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, with a degree in history. The son of an engineer and the grandson of a clockmaker, he developed an interest in things mechanical that was heightened during his wartime work in aircraft and gunnery systems research and maintenance. Trained originally as a painter, in 1950 he turned his attention to kinetic sculpture, which became his lifelong passion. Throughout the 1950s and 60s Rickey taught at various colleges around the country. In 1964, his kinetic work Two Lines Temporal was shown at Documenta III, one of the most important exhibitions of contemporary art held every five years in Kassel, Germany. Inclusion in Documenta assured Rickey's position as a major artist. In 1966, he gave up teaching to devote himself entirely to his creative work.
George Rickey Kinetic Sculpture: A Retrospective was organized by The Vero Beach Museum of Art, with the generous support of The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. and the George Rickey Foundation.
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George Rickey Kinetic Sculpture: A Retrospective