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Essie Pinsker ‘poses’
a Gordian Knot.

It has often been said of sculpture that it is the art of volume. Many sculptors may wander far afield and concern themselves more or less with volume. However, volume remains a basic tenet of sculpture … that an object occupies three-dimensional space.

Stone carvers, particularly those in marble, are always very involved with volume, even more so than the abstract sculptor. Essie Pinsker, working in this vein, has gone directly to this basic principle. And became entranced with the volumetric quality of stone.

However, this sense of form is more than a technical concern. It is Pinsker's way to employ volume for emotional power. Her aim, she states, is to achieve strength through form, along with an idea of softness.

Graciousa, Marble, 29" x 28" x 14"
Solo Exhibition at Vorpal Gallery

In her solo of abstract carved marble at Vorpal Gallery, 465 West Broadway, in Soho, New York City, April 1 to 30, Essie Pinsker includes nine major works from white to black, with varied colors as well. She always works large, and the secret of marble is that scale overcomes any sense of preciousness in these beautiful stones. Also, scale contributes to power. The large abstract figures with their domineering postures, about to pounce, the dark "Isaiah" and the polished brown of "Antagonista," are both condemnatory prophets and flowerlike plants, bursting with male sensuality.

These two works continue the mythical subjects of her last New York solo six years ago, on one of which Palmer Poroner commented (Artspeak, March 1, 1981) "...with its hulking shoulders, emerges as a provocative figure. They produce a powerful emotion which is deeply rooted in our epic and religious heritage."

Moving away from a fearsome emotion and subject, but relying on our heritage for inspiration, is the black "Samothrace," where Pinsker transmutes the rhythms and movement of the original antiquity into a modern art form. More abstract and volumetric, a dense compact piece of pent-up power.

The Strength of Ideas

Pinsker gives fair notice that her work contains an essence beyond both physical power and emotion, by means of titles that delve into man's emotional and intellectual experience and his cultural history.

A sculptor always seeks an image, a visual symbol that serves as a metaphor, a vehicle to express the many facets, and especially her/his basic view of life through art. Essie Pinsker has found a theme to employ in this sense, an idea that also fulfills her innate feeling for form. This expression contains her evocation of pent-up power—emotional, intellectual, sexual—the driving force of kinetic/potential energy. When any artist finds a metaphor suitable for expressing his life work, this in itself helps to lift the art to an even higher plateau. Essie Pinsker has that metaphor in her Gordian Knot. One could say that life itself is a Gordian Knot.

The “Gordian Knot” Series

A stone of white carrara in this series is actually called "Gordian Knot," for it is made up entirely of solid geometric forms and, therefore, has meaning without reference to any specific meaning, as does "Oblique." Her "Graciousa" expresses grace, the Gordian Knot becoming more apparently sensual. Somewhat specific meanings, along with emotions relating to enveloping power, delicacy, the potency to transmute force and energy, are evoked in two other ‘Knot’ forms, the brownish "Sumo" and the yellowing "Echoes," which has concentric rhythms remindful of the ear. Pinsker reveals manifestations of the Gordian Knot from mythology on to our daily lives.

In her latest work to appear in the Vorpal exhibit, "Flight," in white statuary carrara, Pinsker unites the two meanings of this term, the soaring and the fleeing, in an ironic metaphor that depicts a fleeing couple. All her art unites movement with emotion and deeper meaning, for Essie Pinsker has achieved a maturity of thought and of art in this formidable exhibit of eight major works.

Joseph Merkel         

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