Dr. George Weber jr.

Examples of how a shape can be created,

Examples of how a shape can be created,

This post is a first installment on this subject.

The power of an artist derives from his intellect and his interaction with form.I learned this concept early; yet it grew in importance over the passing decades.

I first expressed this concept in the above manner in the thesis I wrote as an undergraduate: then it was simply an expression of how one may view an object: as a swelling form, as a collapsing form, or as a static form; this is easily translatable into the academic use of positive and negative space. In graduate school, when I was still doing retinal drawing and painting, I was instructed to feel the movement of a line (parabola) as it moved around the form of the model; as my mentor Peter Agostini was involved in creating a swelling human shape (look up prana).

[An aside: Peter Agostini had been involved with the creation of swelling forms from early in his career: inflated inner tubes (I didn’t see any but he did describe working with them), plaster balloons, and large swollen heads; this consideration of swelling from within carried over into his representation of the human figure and that of the horse. I did not realize Peter had comprehended prana until I spent an overnight in his studio when I drove his “Old Man” sculpture up to NYC: on a shelf over the entrance to his studio, he had displayed a few small figurines of Indian sculptures exhibiting prana. I first learned of this quality of inner swelling from George Weber but had not seen it directly applied until I saw Peter’s work. The figure to the left in the above image illustrates prana.]

Later on, while still in graduate school, I did a quick what if experiment and learned that if I held an objects’ position in relation to its environment in my visual field, the drawing carried the expression or feeling of the objects spacial relationships. The what if experiment was to retinally multiple focus on a column and on the cabinet doors behind it and to include an awareness of the space between them: The few strokes I put down conveyed in their meaning the spacial relationship of the original objects.

[aside two: when I refer to drawing from the retinal image, I mean that I had learned to draw an object while looking at the object and not at the drawing. the image below is an example.]

An example of looking at the object and not the image as I drew.

An example of looking at the object and not the image as I drew.

This manner of drawing continued until the early 1980s when my mind simply stopped wanting to be enslaved to the retinal image. I had to find a way to move inward that would satisfy my imagination.

To be continued.

A Grateful thanks to Paul Viccari
Paul Vaccari the last assistant to my Rutger’s mentor Dr. George Weber jr. contacted me in the fall of 2011; I was one of a number of George’s former friends or students whom Paul contacted. George had died in Ireland in 1990 and Paul inherited his art works; in 2011, Paul, encumbered and stressed by a combination of heavy workload, an incapacitated elderly mother, and moving to a new home, was seeking to disperse some of the art collection. Two weeks ago, after a much understandable delay, for that which I empathize, Paul invited me over to choose a few works: I was able choose several pieces which gave me insight into George’s way of thinking. I am most grateful this opportunity.
Paul is currently seeking to have Rutgers Mason Gross gallery put on an exhibition of George Weber’s art work.
As I wrote to Paul in an email: “George was the primary influence in my life. After him, grad school was a breeze, and his teaching and influence led directly to my second mentor Peter Agostini and kept the other idiots – professors – at bay.”