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Study for Faceted Column
Nan Rosenthal describes how Rickey “grinds the surface in short, random strokes, with a motorized rotary carborundum disk, so that they become responsive to light.” When he stopped using color to polychrome his steel surfaces, he polished most of the works to a shiny, fluid finish that evinced his touch. He felt that this transformation of the steel’s finish brought his works to life, noting that “when stainless steel comes from the factory…the surface is just a dull gray, lifeless surface…I want to break through that uniform gray and have it become more lively in relation to light.” Study for Faceted Column, from 1991, exemplifies this polish and how it contributes to the harmony of the work by presenting a continuous surface along the segmented forms. This study was for a much larger sculpture that combined many of these faceted pieces into a large vertical column in the atrium of a tall office building, the Trigon Building, in Berlin. In that setting, the polished finish reflects the work’s surroundings, just as its vertical orientation emulates them.
from Kephart, Passages of Light and Time: George Rickey's Life in Motion (Notre Dame, 2009)