Tabula Rasa (Translation: Blank Slate)

by Beckman, Richard (American, 1957-2004)
Categorized in Sculpture

Beckman grew up in Oregon and graduated from the University of Oregon, where he studied both art and creative writing before completing his Master of Art and Fine Arts degree at the University of New Mexico. He traveled throughout Europe during his college days, and considers this experience one of the main influences upon his art. Beckman also lists notable sculptors Martin Puryear and Mark Lere as having affected his work. Beckman has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts/Southern Arts Federation Artist?s Fellowship and a State of Florida Individual Artist?s Fellowship. His solo exhibitions have been reviewed in Art in America, Artpapers, Sculpture Magazine, Visions and the L.A. Times. He currently serves as an Associate Professor of Sculpture at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Beckman has a special fondness for this early work, titled Tabula Rasa, since he constructed it from a chalkboard he found during his graduate days. It remains the only piece to date that the artist has made of slate. He often uses the symbolic and universal form of the circle as a source for his work, and this early work is no exception. The artist compares this minimalist work to a short poem because of its simplicity, and states that, ?it says all that needs to be said in a very efficient way.? Exploring the dynamic balance that exists between opposites pervades Beckman?s works. In Tabula Rasa the kinetic aspect mars the effect of the cold metal and slate and instead invites physical interaction with the sculpture.

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