Santa Barbara

William Tucker

Pamela Auchincloss Gallery

Santa Barbara is not a place where you expect to see important new sculpture, but that is what William Tucker’s recent show of big bronzes offered. With the first group of bronzes he showed in New York in 1984, Tucker emerged completely from the shadow of his mentor, Anthony Caro–and of every other sculptor who had been a formative influence–and revealed himself to be an artist of real maturity and inventive power.

Amid the current vogue for conceptual sculpture, it is a relief to encounter work as viscerally convincing as Tucker’s. His bronzes are a world (or maybe just a generation) away from that of younger artists such as Haim Steinbach and Joel Otterson for whom mass-market gewgaws have enough resonance to count as sculpture, or as grist for it. For Tucker, sculpture is unequivocally a process of personal invention rather than a strategy for shaking loose the repressed, repressive

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