October 14th, November 18th 2005
Back to Archives
About the Artist : Albert Terris
Albert Terris, born in 1916, was raised in the fertility of the Amalgamated Housing Project, Bronx, New York. Here was a crucible of art, music, writing, social reforming ideas and, in general, an intellectualism that became the grammar of contemporary thought. As a teenager, Mr. Terris was a student of the stone carver, Aaron Goodelman. He excelled to such a degree that a fable emerged that Terris would carve all the stones in Van Cortlandt Park. During the war, he served in Europe; it was after this time that his career as a sculptor began. At first he modeled clay pieces and later on became a welder of steel sculptures.
Albert Terris is the inventor of crushed sculpture. He was among the earliest, if not the first, to use words as the fundamental structure of a sculptural work. His use of "progravity" as a device lead to an extraordinary series of works which included: Chains, Dumps and Stacks. Mr. Terns' "anti-gravity" works included Nature Machine pieces which were exquisite and often delicate works based on privet hedge and other organic formations. His fire harps used flame which is a perfect vertically ascendant form; these were also part of his "anti-gravity" works. In a career that has spanned more than 60 years, Mr. Terns has had many original ideas which were revealed in: Tools, Cosmologies, Wands, Batons, Giraffes, sculptures with non fixed relationships, and many others. In the early 50's, Terris' genius attracted the attention of the critic Sidney Geist, who called Mr. Terns "the subtlest of our welders." This group included Lassaw, Lipton, Ferber, Smith, Hare, Roszak, Lippold and others. Later, Hilton Kramer of the New York Times also championed Terris' insights and works; the Duveen-Graham and the Allan Stone galleries have represented him with solo exhibitions.
The irony of Mr. Terns' career is that he is not nearly as well known as his aforementioned contemporaries; he should be. Queensborough Community College has the opportunity to refind a lost master as these are works of vast originality and sublime beauty.
Philip Listengart QCC Department of Art and Photography