Marlborough Fine Art
George Rickey: Sculpture from the Estate
Opening Reception: Thursday 20 April 2017 | 6-8pm
Exhibition: 21 April – 20 May 2017
6 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BY
In the presence of the artist’s son Philip Rickey,
who is available for interview and comment
George Rickey, Column of Six Cubes with Gimbal, 1995-1996, stainless steel, polychrome, unique, 83 x 32 x 32 in. Each cube: 8 x 8 in, courtesy of Marlborough Gallery Inc. and the Estate of George Rickey
Marlborough Fine Art is pleased to present an exhibition of works by renowned American sculptor George Rickey (1907 – 2002). On view for the first time in London, and the first time in the UK since 1982, are 16 sculptures from the private holdings of the George Rickey Estate.
An iconic and influential sculptor represented in major museum collections internationally, Rickey’s kinetic works developed as a result of experimenting with a range of materials during his service in WWII as an engineer in the Army Air Corps. The job required both mechanical skill and an understanding of changing air currents and their effects on ballistics, which inspired his move to sculpture from painting.
Rickey, along with Alexander Calder, was a pioneer in introducing kinetic sculpture to America in the mid-twentieth century. He was also one of the first artists to create outdoor-specific work, and is well-known for his stainless steel sculptures that respond to the natural elements. Many works have been large-scale commissions for sites in the US, Japan and Europe, including Four Open Squares Horizontal Tapered, in the UK, an important purchase and donation by the Sainsbury family to the Trinity House Hospice in Clapham, London. Rickey was also a good friend of Charles Jencks and gave a work to Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh, which Jencks founded in 1995.
George Rickey working on Crucifera IV in his studio in East Chatham New York, c.1965, photo by Carl Howard, copyright George Rickey Estate
This comprehensive exhibition includes works from the artist’s personal archive, some which have never been shown before, offering a new insight into his artistic process and prove Rickey as an intelligent and profound interrogator of kinesis in art. His son Philip states: ‘Many of the works are unique and are first examples of discoveries that led to new works. My father kept these sculptures close at home for inspiration, never offering them for sale’.
In the early 1990s, Rickey developed carpel-tunnel syndrome in his left hand. As a result, he returned to his roots as a painter and animated simple sculptural forms. Vibrant colours decorate the geometric shapes in Column of Six Cubes with Gimbal, 1995-1996, and as Philip comments, ‘the kinetic elements arenow a canvas on which enthusiasm played out’.
A fully illustrated catalogue includes Rickey’s essay The Métier, first published in The Art Digest’s 1965 edition of Contemporary Sculpture: Arts Yearbook. It is as fresh and informative today as it was 52 years ago and addresses first-hand many of the vital art issues of Rickey’s time, most of which have carried forward to the present.