Lines Oblique, 1973, George Rickey (American, 1907-2002)
steel, 20’ high
Rickey was born in South Bend, Indiana, the son of an engineer and the grandson
of a clock maker. His family moved to Scotland
when he was a young boy. Rickey studied at Oxford University, where he participated in drawing classes but ultimately finished his degree
in history. After Oxford, he decided to becoome an artist.
the 1930s he spent time in Paris, New York, and various universities
in Illinois and Michigan.
In 1941, he was drafted into the Army Air Corps and worked maintaining the computing instruments for B-29 bombers. It was
during this time that Rickey discovered his genius for mechanics and interest in sculpture. He began his career by making
mobiles, and eventually started to make kinetic sculptures. Rickey once said, “...I never considered making any sculpture that didn’t move.”
Rickey typically used simple geometric shapes and lines made of stainless steel, and then balanced them in such
a way that the elements of the piece would move only by the forces of nature, gravity and wind. Rickey did not incorporate
mechanical devices to provide motion. His search for the essence of movement led to the evolution of a new spatial vocabulary
in visual art and influenced sculptors such as Lin Emery and John Scott. Rickey himself best described the delicate dance of Four Lines Oblique when
he said, “I wanted whatever eloquence there was to come out of the performance of the piece--never out of the shape