Artist biography

American sculptor of English birth. He returned with his family to England in 1937 and studied history at Oxford University from 1955 to 1958 and sculpture in London, at the Central School of Art and Design and at St Martin's School of Art, from 1959 to 1960. In his early work he favoured simple geometric shapes and industrial materials such as fibreglass and sheet metal painted in bright colours. The works that he showed in this exhibition bear a superficial resemblance to Minimalist work of the same period. In distinction to the work of Americans such as Donald Judd, however, Tucker suggested an organic development of form and even hinted at narrative, rather than proposing basic geometric forms that could be perceived in their entirety almost at a glance. In the 1970s, with works such as Cat's Cradle 3 (stainless steel, 1.63×2.62×1.5 m, 1971; London, Tate), he produced more spacious and elegant works that responded to gravity and atmosphere.

Tucker moved to the USA in 1977 and later became an American citizen. By the early 1980s he was particularly interested in creating a tension between mass and open spaces. Later in the decade he returned to modelling after having worked consistently with constructed forms, bringing primordial masses to the brink of figuration in bronzes such as Gaia (2.08×1.19×3.23 m, 1986; Rome, Gal. Isola di Milano, see 1987 exh. cat., p. 19), which intimidate by their large scale and mass.

Bibliography
The New Generation: 1965 (exh. cat., intro. B. Robertson; London, Whitechapel A.G., 1965), pp. 65–70
R. Morphet: ‘William Tucker', The Alistair McAlpine Gift (exh. cat., intro. A. McAlpine; London, Tate, 1971), pp. 88–105
William Tucker: Sculpture, 1970–73 (exh. cat., intro. A. Forge; London, Serpentine Gal., 1973)
William Tucker: Gods: Five Recent Sculptures (exh. cat., intro. D. Ashton; London, Tate, 1987)

DANIEL E. MADER

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