Iconic Figures, an exhibition of sculptures by Tor Archer is currently on view at the Peninsula Museum of Art, February 22 – May 3, 2020.
The human figure in isolation has been a favorite theme of Bay Area artists since the Bay Area Figurative painters movement took expressionist facture from Abstract Expressionism but eliminated or at least de-emphasized pure abstraction. The painters Diebenkorn, Oliveira, Park and Bischoff and the sculptors Neri, Frey and de Staebler resurrected the figure from a stylistic oblivion that lasted less than decade. Tor Archer continues the figure sculpture tradition mindful of its antecedents throughout history, from Greek kouroi
(male youths) classical and Christian statuary to Rodin, Maillol and Giacometti. Archer: “I work primarily from the solitary, standing female form as a representation of the life giving, nurturing and creative force of Nature and the archetypal association of the female body with the earth. I think of these figures as akin to religious iconography and objects of veneration. In the creation of the work I take inspiration from the direct observation of the natural world, both microcosmic and macrocosmic.” His mysterious, faceless figures, shells assembled from many metal or wooden elements around torsos, now vanished, evoke both natural botanical processes and the manual skills of preindustrial societies; they hint at the archaic and elemental while giving new life to an archetype, even now, as old as humanity.
Curated by DeWitt Cheng