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July 21, 1976 - Image 21

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-07-21

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Wednesday, duly 21, 1976


Page Fifteen

WedneSday, July 21, 1976 fHE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Fifteen

Sculptor examines his role

animal, he'd choose to be
a bird. . i
Geoff, however, is not an ani-
ma. So he has to make do with
being 0 sculptor.
From a huge, sun-drenched
Art School studio overlooking
ganisteel Boulevard, Geoff
stood before an immense three-
part plaster sculpture, its angu-
lar omonents jutting sharply
oat it different directions, and
Abed excitedly of his art.
-llere, I've used forms based
o wing shapes," said Geoff,
dar fed by the unfinished white
objeet. "It's kind of a hybrid-
bal atnimal, part bird, part hu-
mao being. It leaves enough

Sculpting is his career. But
creation is his cause.
"The role of the artist is get-
ting people to become more
aware of other realities, it's a
spirit'aal uplift," he said, lean-
ing against a battered table
with chisel in hand. "I work
whenever I can: my art fulfills
a need I have."
"Art is an extension of what
I feel about life. What I can't
exuress in other forms, I ex-
ip :ss in art."
He continued, "I think a
greet number of people have
self-amposed rmitations. They
ay alout art, 'I can't do that'.
I tell them first that they
shouldn't say 'I can't do it.'
Everyone is able to do creative

"To me, a good piece is one which gives
me that feeling of spiritual uplift. If I was
totally satisfied with my work, why should I
continue? I create to more fully develop what
I left behind in the last piece."-Geoff White

interpretation open so as not
to force people to see it in a
certain way."
The sculpture, however, will
not be finished in time for dis-
play in today's Art Fair, which
Geoff is participating in this
year for the first time.
"This piece needs more room
to be looked at," he said,
squinting his bespectacled eyes
as he planted himself in differ-
ent viewing points around the
studio. "It's getting too big.
"I broke up the form in three
separate pieces, so you can
walk through it," Geoff con-
tinued. "I wanted to get out of
the encapsulated space. I like
to put an open, light spatial
quality into my work, as if it
can fly.
" YOU WANT TO know
what it's called?" he asked,
not waiting for an answer.
"Scimitar," he said, relishing
the taste of each syllable in
his mouth. "It means sword. I
love the sound of that word.
Geoff also loves the sound of
a chisel chipping away at dried
plaster and the scratchy din of
sandpaper smoothing finely
curved wood.

Geoff creates in the ample,
yet thoroughly dissheveled
studio provided him by the Art
School, where he is a senior.
Plaster dust has settled on ev-
ery open surface, while chunks
of wood and polyurethane, buc-
kets, sacks of gleaming plas-
ter and tools are scattered
about in disarray. Scimitar
dominates the floor space, and
other smaller sculptures await
sprucing up on small tables.
bright eyes peer out of
roomd glasses, sports a bushy
mustache to accompany his
nest of wavy, chestnut hair. He
will submit ten sculptures to the
Art Fair, and has displayed his
work in shows in Toledo and
at Ann Arbor's Forsythe Gal-
lery. A transfer student from
Syracuse University, he finds
the atmosphere in Ann Arbor
more conducive to his work
than the hills of upstate New
"I didn't like the people I
was running into in Syracuse,
the average person was not in-
teresting," he recalled. "I like
to be with people who are a
little bit on the ball when it

comes to the arts. Ann Arbor
has a large number of open-
minded, I won't say intellect-
ual, but aware, people."
Geoff, a native of nearby
Franklin, Mich., first carved at
age 13, but didn't take the field
of sculpture seriously until two
yeurs later.
"Children naturally create,"
he said, smoothing his plaster-
stained jeans. "They don't lose
the ability, but only forget that
they had it."
Aside from the twentieth cen-
tury sculptor Henry Moore,
whose work and words "To be
an artist is to believe in life"
have influenced Geoff, his as-
sociation with scientology, an
applied religious science, has
been his greatest inspiration.
Scientology, which dictates cre-
ation as the highest purpose,
has affected Geoff's pattern of
thinking by "freeing my mind
from its own limitations." By
immersing himself in his culp-
ture, Geoff says, he is able to
express spiritual freedom in his
HE ALSO FINDS A parallel
in his work with that of
the study of astronomy, which
ranks with blue-grass banjo as
a favorite hobby.
"That's all created," he said
excitedly, pointing a forefinger
upwards out the window, to-
ward the luminous, dusk sky
and a crescent moon ,hanging
over North Campus. 'To me,
one of the most important things
was when we saw the earth
from that spaceship. It got us
away . from our petty concerns,
like sculpture does."
"Space is the place," he
added, laughing lightly. "I saw
that on a bumper sticker." -
Geoff believes that tech-
niques are instrumental in offer-
ing a sculptor new ideas. He
motioned toward a small wood
sculpture as an example, its
two movable parts fastened by
a lone screw. As hemoved his
agile, plaster - dried hands
along the bony lines and grace-
ful curves that once were a
hunk of fragrant apple wood, he
spoke of how the object event-
ually took the shape it did.
"This is one piece I never
stuck to, it was one frustration
after another," he said, gazing
See ART, Page 18

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