San Francisco

Wilfrid Zogbaum

Dilexi Gallery

Zogbaum’s sculpture transcends any attempt to categorize it. This is the innate, mysterious and unique quality of any good art. The perpetual efforts of art pundits to create pegs on which to hang their own pet theories artificially divides the indivisible; for great art is an experience which transcends categorization. That which has profound meaning on its own cannot be restated—thus the dilemma of art criticism. Zogbaum’s sculpture is a rare experience in contemporary art, not because of his technical virtuosity but the holistic* quality of his imagery.

But, even technically, few contemporary sculptors equal him in his control over materials based on the industrial methods of working metal by means of cutting, forging and welding. In a hitherto unpublished statement he says: “Everything that enters into a piece (of my sculpture) is a manufactured or ready made major or minor part. Some I accept as is, others are changed or combined into objects which I myself manufacture and then ‘find’.” Zogbaum’s image is not built up by the juxtaposition of incongruous things or ideas introduced as social comments, but grows from inside. Each piece communicates a specific and deeply felt experience, even though the origin may be obscure. It is a serene and deeply felt art that arises from a contemplative compulsion, and it is this that gives it its timeless grace and strength, rather than just historical excavations of form and ideas.

(*holism, n. (philo.) tendency in nature to form wholes that are more than the sum of the parts by creative evolution. Oxford Dictionary.)

John Coplans