George Rickey, American, 1907 - 2002
Medium: Stainless steel
Object: 300 in. (762 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Art Today
Object Number: 73.7
Copyright: © Estate of George Rickey/ VAGA , New York, NY
Not on view
Born in Indiana and raised in Scotland, George Rickey studied history and painting in England and France. During World War II he worked as a gunnery instructor in the army. It was this experience that prompted his interest in combining science and technology with art, particularly through sculpture. Having access to a machine workshop while in the army, Rickey created his first small sculptures, and by 1948 he had abandoned painting altogether. Intrigued and influenced by Alexander Calder’s mobiles and the abstract geometric forms of early-20th-century Constructivism, a movement that linked art with industry and technology, Rickey created structures that respond to the slightest movement of air.
The Brooks’ outdoor sculpture exemplifies Rickey’s mature style of large, reductive, geometric forms created of stainless steel. Combining engineering principles with the unpredictability of nature, Rickey created sculptures that are stable and geometrically ordered, but are simultaneously vulnerable to the weather’s changing conditions. Two Lines Oblique No. 7 is a vertical structure that branches into two arms, each connected at the apex to a spear-like length of steel. Rotating on precision ball-bearings that were developed by Rickey, the blades are delicately balanced and oscillate with the air’s irregular rhythm. The large, linear, and slender Two Lines Oblique No. 7 harmonizes with its environment. Although the sculpture is made from industrial materials, its presence is graceful, sleek, and quiet; when moving, the arms mimic the swaying branches of a tree.