George Segal (1924-2000) was a prominent figure aligned to the Pop Art movement. Born in New York, he was an artist and art tutor (alongside spells working as a poultry farmer to support his parents and family).
His first sculpture in his iconic style was inspired by a student at an adult education class who brought a box of plaster bandage to class. His first cast sculpture, Man Sitting at a Table (1961), was the culmination of practising casting with plaster bandages on his own body to develop this style of sculpture.
Segal’s stark white sculptures can be found in public spaces around the country – sitting on park benches, standing next to each other in line, and working together on make believe construction sites. Many have been anonymously placed in urban environments just waiting to be found.
The lifelike nature of the sculptures owes to the casting onto real bodies. Yet for all this, for me they have an abandoned, souless quality. Perhaps it is the fact that they are hollow that makes me think of an abandoned shell, a coccoon left behind by an emerging butterfly or a skin shed by a snake that retains its form yet has no life.
In addition to his sculpture, Segal worked extensively in drawing, pastel and paint, predominantly in black and white.
A wide range of his work can be found at the George and Helen Segal Foundation website. Here are a few of my favourite pieces: