Lecture: Seagal's sculptures: Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in an art class. Professor: So, we've looked at techniques used by artists, how they used wire or wooden frame to build sculptures, or how they work with materials like clay or marble. But if you want to make a realistic sculpture, well, why not make a casting from real life? Well, prior to 1961, an artist generally wouldn't do this. It was something that just wasn't done. So, now let me tell you about the artist George Segal, that's S-E-G-A-L. Starting in 1961, Segal's sculptural technique was ... he took plaster advantages and wrap them around a living person, a living model. The models would stay still for twenty minutes while Segal manipulated the still wet plaster. Plaster would harden, and he would end up with a replica of the person. Female Student: You may use the white medical plaster that doctors use when you break a leg or something. Right? Professor: Except the typically covered everything on the person, hair, face, clothing, shoes. Female Student: Cloths too? Professor: Correct. His plaster sculptures were people and typically he focused on life everyday moments. It's everyday situations, someone eating a meal, acrossing a street, sitting at a gas station. As part of his process, he create the plaster sculpture. He also incorporates some suggestive environmental fragment to help create a context for that plaster person. Female Student: What do you mean exactly? Professor: Well, you see to invoke a real life environment in place, a few real life objects close to each sculpture. Female Student: So these real life objects were not plaster, right? Professor: Right. Such as an actual traffic light in one or an actual table and chair from a restaurant and another. And in this way, the viewers' mind could fill in the rest of the scene from personal experience. I mean everyone will cross the street, right? So when you see a traffic light, you immediately think of all the associations that come with that, sidewalks, other pedestrians, cars, shops, noise, etc. And you know, there was an interesting irony to the sculptures he created. The sculptures, well, his models were primarily people he knew very well – friends, family, acquaintances. However, for the viewer, there was always a very anonymous quality to each sculpture, because you see the faces, well, you can't read anything off of the faces. Because of the plaster, they don't really convey emotion and the eyes appear blank, empty. So Segal focused a lot on the bodies, their posture, their position, what each person was doing. For example, a person slumped in a chair and evoke very distinct feelings like sadness or defeat. Another thing about these pieces that use of space was always at the forefront of Segal's thought. He felt it was important for the viewer to engage with the space, walk in and around among the sculptures. Now if you do go to the local exhibition, you won't be able to do that. Unfortunately, museum sometimes sense things off to protect their exhibit. Nevertheless, be aware that in his own studio, Segal arrange his work to maximize the viewers' interaction with the sculptures. He paid a lot of attention to the significance of empty space. Male Student: Um, I happened to see a Segal's sculpture at a museum years ago. Since plaster is naturally white, each of the figures looked completely white – hair, clothing, skin shoes, everything. It was quite striking. Professor: Yeah, that's his trademark what is most well known for. But you know, he also occasionally painted some of his sculpted human figures. Male Student: Oh, I wasn't aware of that. Professor: And here's the thing. When he did paint, he typically make each figure he sculpted a single solid color. Consider The Costume Party, for instance. It contains several human figures – one blue, one red, one yellow, why? Well, just as with his solid white plaster figures, Segal used solid color figures so that they would stand out distinctly and everything else, and the viewers environment is composed of a more natural range of colors. Right? So the figures in the costume party create a certain emotional response and the viewers. Ok. Now, in the 1970s, as his career progressed, outdoor public sculpture became all the range, in part because of government mandates requiring new government buildings to purchase and display artists' work on their property. Most artists created sculpture of a gigantic size to fit with the architecture nearby. Segal, however, wanted his art to remain life size acceptable. His unique solution to increase the number of individuals in the art peace. In this way, his sculptures became larger.