Artist: Clement Meadmore (American, b. Australia, 1929-2005)
Materials: welded Cor-Ten steel
Provenance: Loan courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago
A native-born Australian, Clement Meadmore immigrated to the United States, settling in New York City. His mother provided him with early exposure to the arts, introducing him to an uncle, Jesse Jewhurst Hilder (1881-1916), an Australian watercolorist of note. He studied at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and graduated in 1949. He designed furniture and travelled to Europe and Japan. His early attempts at sculpture were well received and he was awarded a number of one person exhibitions before he left Australia in 1963.
Meadmore’s approach to sculpture found welcome in the art world of the 1960s. His personal aesthetic emphasized formal elements of both Abstract Expressionism, whose influence was on the wane, and the reductivist sensibilities of the Minimalists, which demanded smoothly machined surfaces and emphasized geometry. Meadmore, with his interest in gesture, made solid forms seem supple. He sculptures began as maquettes, or models, rarely more than 30 cm long, in his studio in New York. Once resolved at this scale, he would often have the Lippincott Foundry of North Haven, Connecticut fabricate the full-sized version. He was an early enthusiast of Cor-Ten steel as a sculptural medium, admiring the richly colored surface patina that evolved with exposure to the elements.
Typically, a Meadmore sculpture features an elongated rectangular form, which is folded or curved-in upon itself. Spiral is a prime example of the artist’s mature style. The piece begins with a 48 inch square base and carries those dimensions throughout its perfectly modulated movement upward. Spiral achieves a balance of movement, form, and stability, establishing a dynamic profile from every angle.