Peter Voulkos

Essay by angelcristaCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2007

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Crista Nelson � PAGE �1�

Peter Voulkos

Peter Voulkos' sculptures invoke the urge to touch. Each piece in his series of stacks evokes a primitive nature, with an almost prehistoric quality to them that reveals the essence of raw emotion, Voulkos' emotion. "Voulkos' sculptures are famous for their visual weight, their freely-formed construction, and their aggressive and energetic decoration" (Smith). It is as if each piece exposes some pent up secret passion about Voulkos. Each mark, rip, impression or crack intentionally reeks of his feelings toward what ever mood he was in when he created it.

The interpretation of each piece is a thought process, which keeps each viewer in suspense, wondering was it anger, antagonism, resentment or perhaps the opposite, calm, happy, rational feelings, that provoked him to incorporate these marring effects in each of his sculptures. The thought provoking questions that arise when viewing Voulkos' sculpture is one of the qualities that make them successful art.

One should also consider the medium of which was used in creating each piece. Clay exudes the essence of nature, which is organic, bold and free. The use of clay in the creation of these huge volcanic like sculptures (Stacks) seems only natural, not only to suggest the strength of these mighty monoliths, but intentionally because of its fragile nature that suggests the ever changing evolution of a volcano.

Rose Slivka and Karen Tsujimoto authors of the book The Art of Peter Voulkos write that "It took Voulkos to recognize the beauty of the crack. The burned crack; the excitement of the edge, the torn edge; to find out the possibilities at every stage of clays turnings; its plasticity and viscousness, and at each phase of its drying; its stone face to learn to trust and enjoy the gamble of the fire."...