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Burns Atrium features works and talk by noted sculptor


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Nineteen charcoal drawings and four small bronzes by William Tucker, a modernist British sculptor and art scholar known for his often monumental work in plaster, bronze and steel, are on view at the Burns Arts Atrium in the Visual Arts Building through Nov. 8.

“William Tucker is one of the most significant and influential sculptors of his generation,” said Chris Duncan, professor of sculpture. “His early work typified the cool, intellectual approach of the British artists at St. Martin’s in London. Since moving to the U.S. in the 1970s, his sculpture and drawings have become steadily more immediate and gestural, even visceral.”

Tucker will give an artist’s talk Thursday, October 27 at 2 p.m. in Room 215 of the Visual Arts Building. His talk will be followed by a 4:30 p.m. reception in the Atrium.

“Not only is this an exceptional exhibit, but it’s a tremendous opportunity to have the artist himself on campus discussing his work,” Duncan said. He noted that Tucker helped reinvigorate the practice of sculptors’ drawings in the 1980s with full-scale charcoals of his large steel and wood pieces.

“The recent drawings are very specifically related to the bronze sculptures in this exhibit, and they demonstrate Tucker’s engagement with both the human form and the physical act of making the work,” Duncan said.
Born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1935 and raised in England, Tucker studied at the University of Oxford and continued postgraduate studies in sculpture at the Central and St. Martins schools of art in London. He came to public prominence while taking part in the New Generation 1965 exhibition at London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery.

Early in his career, Tucker created abstract geometric figures of steel and recycled wood that consisted largely of negative space. As his style evolved, he turned toward more solid pieces cast from plaster and concrete.

He was a Gregory Fellow in sculpture at the University of Leeds and represented Britain at the 1972 Venice Biennale. He is the author of the 1974 book, “The Language of Sculpture,” based on a series of lectures he gave at Leeds.

Tucker has taught at Columbia University and the New York Studio School. He is a recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships as well as numerous other awards and commissions. Last year, he received the International Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.

He has exhibited widely in the U.S. and internationally, and his works are included in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Royal Academy of Arts Collection, Tate Gallery, Harvard University Art Museum and many other collections.

The Burns Arts Atrium is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays.