Agora Design Partnership | Design for Public Parks & Spaces

Women of Industry—Outdoor Sculptures

  • 5 feet tall
  • Western Michigan University
  • Installed 2014

Clock I in the Women of Industry Series was awarded the bronze medal in 2005 in Paris at the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français, the largest art show in France.

Shown here is Clock V, which was installed on the campus of Western Michigan University in 2014, and in private collections across Europe and the U.S. from 2005–present. Photo 2 shows the Women of Industry V at a private residence in the U.S.

The Women of Industry series is based on the human form but is more abstract. These figures are derived from a generic notion of the female form as it has come down through twentieth century interpretations—Futurism, Cubism, Dada, for example, each of which came into being as artists tried to come to grips with abstract, geometric forms brought into our consciousness by the late nineteenth century industry. Basic forms, circles, ovals, spheres, hemispheres, arcs, are employed, following the lead of Cézanne and then Picasso, for example, to represent body parts, such as stomachs, breasts, faces, arms, and shoulders.

The result is a group of women, who, in keeping with the attitudes prevalent during the industrial era, are not especially nurturing or warm. Women, just as men, were pressed into service in early factories, enduring conditions that were both dangerous and dirty. One could argue that, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, much of women’s femininity was suppressed, and women were not allowed to exhibit much tenderness and maternal love.

These figures were begun as maquettes between 1987 and 1991. The enlarged examples, ranging from 46″ to 76″ in height, were done between 1991 and 2005. They were cast by Landowski Fondeur in Bagnolet, France, and Queoff Studio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.