Friday, November 25, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ George Segal, artist - another look.

Having identified an artist born this week (26 November, in fact) I began reading up on his career, it wasn't until I reached links in the nether regions of Google that I spied....a link to my own blog. Well, well, well! I'd already covered Mr Segal back in 2011. I think the post will stand another airing, with a layer of dust blown off it - same applies to my memory bank!

George Segal (not the movie star, the artist) was born 26 November 1924 - tomorrow would have been his birthday. He died in 2000. Segal is considered to be one of the founders of the 1960's Pop Art movement. His works include abstract paintings, pastels, very large portraits, but possibly best known are his reliefs of human figures and plaster scupltures.
"My teachers were abstract painters. But I was overwhelmed by the necessity of reality-by the real world."
It was this philosophy that separated Segal from his fellow Pop artists. Segal surpassed their focus on wit and sophisticated attachment, in favor of displaying the human condition, its solitude and fragility. He placed his sculptures in modern, everyday settings and situations and gave them an eery feeling of isolation. It is this look that gives his figures a humane quality. Segal is quoted as saying in The Christian Science Monitor:
"I note [my subjects'] gestures. I depend on my language [plaster] to communicate anguish. I really am interested in provoking a state of compassion."
He drew inspiration from everyday life, but also from film, literature, and the Old Testament.

From Wikipedia:
In place of traditional casting techniques, Segal pioneered the use of plaster bandages (plaster-impregnated gauze strips designed for making orthopedic casts) as a sculptural medium. In this process, he first wrapped a model with bandages in sections, then removed the hardened forms and put them back together with more plaster to form a hollow shell. These forms were not used as molds; the shell itself became the final sculpture, including the rough texture of the bandages. Initially, Segal kept the sculptures stark white, but a few years later he began painting them, usually in bright monochrome colors. Eventually he started having the final forms cast in bronze, sometimes patinated white to resemble the original plaster.

From the 1950s until his death Segal lived on a chicken farm in South Brunswick Township, New Jersey, and used the location for displays of his work.

Replacing a dead link in the original post, I'm adding a link about Segal's work in a Smithsonian pdf and an obituary in the New York Times - HERE.

George Segal, born on 26 November 1924 in New York. No time of birth is known, a 12noon chart is shown below. Rising sign will not be as shown and exact position of Moon remains unknown.

Sun, Mercury and Jupiter in Sagittarius, with Moon also in that sign, with a birthtime after 6:00 AM, otherwise in late Scorpio. Jupiter is in its sign of rulership here, George Segal likely fitted well most textbook descriptions of Sagittarius: optimistic, good humoured, straight-talking, philosophical. There's little online about the private side of his personality, all we can be sure of is what shines through his artwork. He was certainly unafraid to say (through his sculptures) exactly what he thought on contraversial topics...which would be seen as typical Sagittarian bluntness in any other context. His work indicates a definite philosophical mindset too.

However, in addition to Sagittarian Fire there's a strong showing of the element of Water in Segal's chart. Saturn in Scorpio, Mars/Uranus in Pisces and Pluto in Cancer - in harmonious aspect, together forming a loose Grand Trine - signifying a depth of emotion, empathy and intuition, quite apart from the Fire optimism and straight-talking of Sagittarius. This emotional strength shows through clearly in many of his sculptures and choices of subject - see below.

Rush Hour

The Fireside Chat (FDR used radio talks to speak directly to the American public).

Breadline Words etched on wall to left of sculptures are worth copying here: "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

Woman on White Wicker Chair

Street Crossing

The Holocaust

In Memory of May 4, 1970: Kent State-Abraham and Isaac ~ created in response to the shooting of anti-war demonstrators by the National Guard, on the Kent State campus during the Vietnam War. Segal used the idea of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac in order to complete God's will, to represent the National Guard's willingness to sacrifice American people to make a point. The sculpture shows Isaac on his knees in front of Abraham, seemingly begging for his life. This work was considered to be politically controversial and rejected by its comissioner Kent State for being "unpatriotic". The sculpture is now part of Princeton University's modern sculpture garden.

Farewell to Ishmael (Abraham bids farewell, embraces Ishmael with deep regret. Hagar's expression is grim, almost like controlled panic at what is virtually a death sentence for herself and her son. Sarah watches, half-hidden, as the anguished farewells are made.)

Gay Liberation


Circus Acrobats

Couple On Two Benches


mike said...

His Jupiter is final dispositor to many of his planets. Jupiter rules the justice system, religion, philosophy. Many of his sculptures depict this theme. Venus-Libra is in the sign of rulership connecting to Jupiter by sextile and some of his sculptures convey partnership, groups, balance of justice, judgement.

I find it interesting that his paper and canvas works are mostly abstract, but his sculptures are more realistic, with many conveying difficult, abstract concepts.

I have to applaud his "In Memory of May 4, 1970: Kent State-Abraham and Isaac", but also the Kent State curators' (Cleveland's Mildred Andrews Foundation) rejection, which imbued the sculpture with additional content. The depiction of murder was calling a spade, a spade...too close for comfort.

As you said, there's sparse personal information online. I'm inclined to believe his Moon is in Scorpio, making his Moon in reciprocation with Pluto in Cancer. Scorpio and Cancer are the two signs best known for privacy issues. Few well-recognized artists of the twentieth century have a paucity of personal information available, so he must have taken efforts to quarantine his nonpublic life.

His natal chart infers a level of ease, with multiple sextiles and trines. The most difficult aspect is Mercury squared by Mars-Uranus, engaging a surfeit of opinion (moral depictions) that is expressed in many of his sculptures.

Twilight said...

mike ~ He's a good and positive Jupitarian ambassador, isn't he - according to his work and choice of subject matter. I suspect he would have been a pleasant character in person too.

He reminds me of someone, facially, but can't quite put a name to it.