Herbert George

Membranes

My early training was academic, learning how to model in clay a realistic portrait and the human figure. The first series of independent works were hammered steel forms made from a flat sheet, a rigid, formed membrane or skin with little reference to the human body. Then, in a return to the figure by way of organic form, I reduced the body to its most basic physicality: hard and soft, membrane and support, skin and bone. These sculptures have a canvas membrane outer surface, and a plywood endoskeletal structure within. In each work there is an interior structure that retains some direct reference to the human body or other organic forms.

The surface configuration of the canvas was the result of the wooden structure it was attached to. These sculptures are composed of a series of independent segments, thought of as a linear sequence, but radiating around a vertical axis, an aspect that later becomes important in Space-holds, which follow. As important as the formal structures and sequences were to me, of far greater significance was the possibility that a particular sculpture could evoke in the mind of the viewer organic nonfigurative forms found in the natural world.