The reclining human figure was a central theme in the work of the British sculptor Henry Moore, who used abstract forms to create powerful renderings of the human figure throughout his long and venerable career. In his archetypal organic abstraction in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, this fascination with the reclining form is wedded to another of the artist’s frequent themes: the mother enclosing her child in a protective embrace. The swelling volumes of the bronze enclose equally evocative empty spaces, recalling at once both human and geological forms: the sensuous curves of the maternal figure, with its womblike cavity, and an analogous landscape of rocks and caves. The materials of Moore’s sculptures—carvings in wood and stone in his earlier works, metal casts from clay or plaster forms in his later period—are integral to his explorations of subject matter. Here, he carved numerous hatchings and striations into the original plaster before casting it in bronze and gave further detail to the surface in the carefully applied patina.
© 1998 Walker Art Center