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Bruce Gagnier: Stance

Yrsa (2014), bronze, 69 h x 20.5 w x 20 d inches.

The New York Studio School presents Stance, an exhibition of life-size bronze sculptures by Bruce Gagnier, September 9 – October 13, 2019, with an Opening Reception Thursday, September 12, 6-8pm. Bruce Gagnier’s works are derived from the human figure, but present forms that feel more akin to our internal selves than a direct representation of the external body. His figures seem to slouch, crumple, and react to the weight of their own psyche. Gagnier transforms the solidity of bronze with his malleable seeming figures, both awkward and proudly imperfect, as he draws inspiration from Renaissance figuration and years of working from a life model.

Gagnier spends countless hours working from life making clay sketches and drawing, however these life-size pieces come to fruition through memory and impulse. The life-size scale offers Gagnier an equally matched wrestling partner, instead of the comfort of control of a handheld scale. The push and pull are felt, an alive and active interchange between souls— that of the artist and that of the figure emerging before him. Bronze casting, the molten pour leading to the material solidifying in permanence, offers a sped-up version of his process of making, as the figures are in a constantly liquid, changing state, before deciding to be. Time, status, origin, age, even gender, melts away from the reading of these figures, and we find something more universally humane. Gagnier’s figures present inner turmoil more analogous to reality than the idealizations of antiquity, offering a contemporary version of the classical standing nude figure.

Thomas Park Gallery, New York, concurrently presents “Bruce Gagnier: Good Figure,” showcasing plaster works from 2019 and 1983, on view August 21 – September 22, 2019.

From Thomas Park Gallery: Bruce Gagnier (born 1941) studied art history at Williams College and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Columbia University, where he studied with Nicholas Carone, Peter Agostini and John Heliker. He has been in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the world for over 40 years of his career. Most recently, Gagnier received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2016, also the Arts and Letters Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2014. In 2004, he was elected Academician by the National Academy. Gagnier has taught at Yale University, Sarah Lawrence, Parsons, Haverford College and the International School of Art in Umbria, Italy. Between 1979 – 2017, he taught drawing and sculpture at the New York Studio School. Currently, he teaches drawing at the NYSS. Gagnier lives and works in Brooklyn.

 

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