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Artists Studio Visits at Biddington's

View HARRY GORDON Outdoor Sculpture Installation
July 27-October 27, 2002 at James A. Michener Art Museum
128 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA

Harry Gordon heroic wooden sculpture

Harry Gordon Monumental Sculpture in Wood and Stone

"The first Gordons I saw were immensely powerful, dense wooden sculptures which loomed like legendary giants."
--Andre Emmerich

sculptor Harry Gordon in his studio
on the Delaware River in Lambertville, New Jersey.

Harry Gordon oak sculpture "Hineni" (right) 16' X 23' X 8'

Harry Gordon Vermont marble sculpture

Harry Gordon Vermont marble sculpture "Ghat" (left)
12.5' X 11' X 7'

Harry Gordon figurative bronze sculpture

GORDON Early Figurative Bronze

Harry Gordon: I was a teenager when I started sculpting in a community art class. Through that class, a teacher arranged for me to apprentice with Boris Blau--a figurative Russian sculpture who at that time was nearly ninety. When he was very young, Boris had worked in Rodin's studio. He was tough. My early bronzes--from about 20 years ago--reflect his classical training in figurative sculpture.

Harry Gordon granite sculptureHarry Gordon: Not all my work is large scale. This small granite piece entitled "Skater" is a little over 2 feet high. It was produced by drawing on black granite slab about 6" thick. Using a stone ax, I scored the piece until sections broke into the shapes I wanted.

Harry Gordon black granite sculpture "Skater"

Harry Gordon: This piece is obviously figurative. This is a little unusual for my stone work. Stone sculpture has a natural tendency to take on a "post and lintel" structure. The wooden pieces are more naturally figurative.

Harry Gordon: When I begin working with a piece of wood, I rotate it until I find a position where it begins to work as a sculpture. Then I start carving. Wood has a spirit and a natural gesture within it.

Gordon sculpture "Delaware" (left)

Harry Gordon: "Delaware" was made from a black walnut tree that fell right here. In this sculpture, I can feel the spirit of a person walking these woods a long time ago.

"Harry has a technique that is unusual in many artists; that is to choose the wood or stone carefully and try to make the materials speak and only do as much sculpting as necessary to bring out the beauty and the legend that makes a sculpture."
--Philip Berman Former Chairman of the Board, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Harry Gordon: On the wooden pieces I usually stay away from shiny finishes. Because shiny wood is so pretty and so tactile, if its too highly finished, its becomes hard to see the sculpture.
Harry Gordon wood sculpture surface detail

Detail of Harry GORDON Sculpture "Orchard"

Harry Gordon: I would never cut down a tree to make art. People around here call me when a large tree falls in a storm. This oak tree was a casualty of hurricane Floyd. I have the trucks and cranes to haul, handle and site my work.

Harry Gordon with oak tree

Harry Gordon sculpture Harry Gordon: Different varieties of wood require different sculpting techniques: For instance: oak is long grained and does not take well to chiseled detailing--so my oak works have smoother surfaces. But black walnut is spalted so it takes a chisel texture nicely.

Gordon black walnut sculpture "Thor's Hammer"

Harry Gordon details of walnut sculpture

Chiseling detail in black walnut sculpture "Delaware"

Harry Gordon: The wooden pieces--unless the wood is pressure-treated--will only last about 20 years outdoors. So it's best if they are housed within an atrium or some at least partially protected environment. Also, they cast beautifully into bronze. Sometimes I cast a piece while some of the more ephemeral surface features on the wood--bark marks and worm tracks are still evident. These details look great in bronze. Then I work the wooden sculpture down to the stable wood with a more refined surface.

Harry Gordon Vermont marble sculpture Harry Gordon One of my favorite aspects about working in stone--I use marble and granite--is working with the play between the surface textures.

Surface detail from "Ghat"

Harry Gordon: In 1992, I won a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant; I used the money to buy power sculpting tools. Many of the tools have diamond cutting surfaces. You can control the degree of finish very precisely getting exactly to kind of surface you want. "Ghat", commissioned for J. Seward Johnson's sculpture garden Grounds for Sculpture, is a monumental scale Vermont marble sculpture that uses a interplay of surfaces.

Stone Sculpting Materials

Harry Gordon: A large marble sculpture like "Ghat" weighs over 40,000 lbs.--after carving. That piece is set on a concrete slab 4' thick. People who buy a very large scale sculpture do need to be aware having paid $50,000+ for a piece, it may well cost them another $10,000 to have it delivered and installed properly.

Harry Gordon: I site sculpture for other artists as well as placing my own work; I am also a curator of sculpture shows and collections. Having worked for so long with my own big pieces, I understand very well the problems of handling, siting and showing large scale sculpture.

Sculptor Gordon with cherry wood sculpture

Harry Gordon in his studio with wood sculpture "Orchard"

Harry Gordon: Placing a 3-dimensional work is very different from hanging a painting. For instance, "Orchard" is a very human scale piece--but it still needs some breathing room. People need to think about the space around the piece when they visualize the placement of a sculpture in their home or somewhere on their property.

Harry Gordon: For many years I had studio space at Grounds for Sculpture, this year I decided to build my own studio; it's just being completed. The space allows room for trucks and cranes to move my large pieces of sculpture.

Gordon's sculpture studio

Harry Gordon

Sculptor Harry Gordon

View Harry Gordon's large & small wood, stone and bronze sculpture for sale in BIDDINGTON'S Contemporary Art Gallery. Price Range: $3000- $75,000

Harry Gordon also accepts commissions for large scale work in stone, wood and bronze. His existing works in wood can be cast in bronze. Prices for commissioned works are available upon request.

HARRY GORDON current & recent exhibitions (abbreviated list):
1999--ongoing Harry Gordon Solo Show Outdoor Sculpture at Chapin School, Princeton NJ
January 1998-January 2001 Art in the Embassies Program, US Embassy, Vienna Austria
October 1998-October 2000 "Sculpture on the Prairie", Celia & Willet Wandell Sculpture Garden, Urbana, IL
1997--Ongoing Group Exhibition, DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA
1997--Ongoing ART/OMI Outdoor Sculpture, Ghent, NY
1997---Ongoing: "SUNY Plattsburgh Sculpture Terrace", Plattsburgh, NY
1997--Ongoing Group Exhibition, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum, Hamilton, OH
1999 "Pier Walk '99", Chicago, IL
1999 "Convergence XII", Providence, RI
1999 Group Exhibition, Sculpture Court Gallery, Southhampton, NY
1990-1998 Andre Emmerich Gallery, Top Gallant Farm, Quaker Hill, NY
1994-1996 "Harry H. Gordon at Morris Arboretum", University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA catalogue

HARRY GORDON is represented in many public and private collections (abbreviated list):
Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Hamilton, OH
Plattsburgh Sculpture Park, Plattsburgh, NY
Nexus Properties, Trenton, NJ
The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA
Runnymede Sculpture Farm, San Francisco, CA
Public Art Trust Permanent Collection, Fort Pierce, FL


CREATIVE PROCESS at Biddington's is designed as a forum for watching art in the making. Usually, this process happens in the privacy of the artist's studio. At BIDDINGTON'S Contemporary Art Gallery & upmarket, online art & antiques auction--we find it interesting to witness the steps leading to the end product and to hear the artists speak about their work in the relaxed surroundings of their own studios.

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