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William Tucker: From the Formal to the Primeval
by David Cohen


William Tucker is a sculptor whose work and conduct embody the conscience of his medium. There is a pervasive sense, in all he does—in his widely influential writings about sculpture as well as in the work itself—of agitated industry, whether he is striving to define, to eliminate, to amass, or to complicate. Radical shifts in his way of working indicate an almost existential search for the essence of sculpture, and an equally strident defense of it.

There is often a palpable tension between complexity and singularity in Tucker’s work: one senses both a determination to force materials or processes to yield their maximum and, in a competing direction, to give expression to a particular emotion or insight. A similar dichotomy, a bracing of extremes, carries across to a consideration of his career as a whole, for Tucker’s journey over 50 years of sculptural activity has taken him from one resolute stylistic and procedural position to another.

Odalisque, 2008.
Plaster, 76 x 109 x 49 in.

Image Courtesy McKee Gallery, New York.


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