Anthony Caro: The Emma Series and After
Anthony Caro is universally recognized as one of the most important sculptors of our time. Since the late 1950s, he has created a body of work that has garnered critical praise, and his accomplishments have contributed significantly to the prominent role British sculpture maintains within the history of art from the postwar period through the present.
The Emma Series is a group of twenty-two sculptures that were constructed in 1977 during an artist workshop at Emma Lake in northern Saskatchewan, Canada — the site that inspired the series’ title. The four largest pieces from the series are featured in this exhibition.
The sculptures are reminiscent of work by Pablo Picasso, Julio Gonzalez and David Smith, artists who first explored the concept of “drawing in space.” Closely following the steps of these pioneers, Caro continued to develop and experiment with this concept, obtaining unique results. His sculptures simultaneously draw through space and contain it. They become freestanding, transparent objects that often achieve a sense of weightlessness in spite of their structure, function and metal medium.
Born in 1924, Caro studied engineering before working under Henry Moore, Great Britain’s most famous and revered sculptor. Caro first came to public attention in 1963 at the Whitechapel Gallery in London with an exhibition of sculptures that were large, abstract and brightly painted. These works stood directly on the ground — a dramatic departure from traditional displays of sculpture on plinths or bases.
In 1987, Queen Elizabeth honored Anthony Caro with knighthood; a decade later, the artist was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture. Caro holds several honorary degrees from universities in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States, and will be honored in 2004 with a full-scale retrospective at London’s Tate Gallery on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Anthony Caro: The Emma Series and After was organized by the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where it was exhibited this summer. The Meadows Museum is its second and final venue.