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Barry Le Va: Distributional Sculpture

WITHIN A TWO AND A half year period, from early 1966 to the present, Barry Le Va’s art has traced out a personal stylistic history of extraordinary repleteness. If his assumptions and terms are problematical and sometimes difficult to accept, they are eminently worth examining. In defining Le Va’s stylistic progression, several factors which evolved simultaneously must be considered: types of materials used, size and number of components, size of overall format, use of color, and approach to internal organization of parts. The successive decisions made with respect to each of these elements nearly always point to a gradually strengthening inclination toward a sense of impermanence and chaos, and a rapidly increasing sophistication in handling weighted groupings within a larger distributional scheme.

When Le Va first began making his “distributions,” his primary material was usually canvas,

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