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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Public Art at Dartmouth

George Warren Rickey, American, 1907–2002 Two Lines Oblique Down, Variation VI 1976 Stainless steel

George Warren Rickey, American, 1907–2002

Two Lines Oblique Down, Variation VI
Stainless steel
Collection of the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Gift of the artist and gifts of anonymous donors, by exchange; S.977.186

Born in South Bend, Indiana, George Warren Rickey was raised in Scotland and studied in Paris before returning to the United States in 1934. As a gunnery instructor for the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, Rickey had access to a machine shop, where he created his first sculptures—small kinetic pieces inspired by the mobiles of Alexander Calder. Rickey's mature style emerged in the late 1950s, when he reduced his forms to simple geometric shapes, restricted his medium to stainless steel, eliminated color, and increased the scale of his work. His sculptures are distinguished by a commitment to non-motorized yet complex and spontaneous movement. The thin, elegantly tapering blades he prefers to use are configured vertically or horizontally and may be either freestanding or suspended.

Two Lines Oblique Down, Variation VI is typical of Rickey's later style and his continued concern with the movement of reflective surfaces. It is constructed from five stainless-steel components that have been welded and bolted together to form linear shapes. The overall structure is a slender stationary "Y" with two wind-powered, pivoting arms. Though the sculpture appears delicate, it is strong enough to withstand powerful winds, and its tapered blades are counterbalanced to sway gracefully in response to natural forces beyond the artist's control, such as a gust of wind. As the sculptor once explained, "I have worked for several years with the simple movement of straight lines, as they cut each other, slice the intervening space, and divide time, responding to the greatest air currents."

Last Updated: 10/25/12