Larry Frazier Beautiful mathematical forms in bronze and alabaster Gump’s held a bronze show in 2011. A dozen or so artists were represented. Two pieces were sold at the opening: a maquette by Frank Gehry, and one of my pieces. Larry’s sculpture and thoughts are the cover article for the September 2008 edition of the internationally acclaimed and peer reviewed Journal of Mathematics and the Arts. One of his pieces was commissioned for the cover of Larson Publishing’s flagship text, their first-year calculus text. Larry’s work is in the permanent collection of the Yale University Art Gallery. One of Larry’s pieces was selected by UC Davis as a gift to present to the wife of Gray Davis, when she came to dedicate the school’s new science and technology building. Another of Larry’s pieces was purchased by the State of Hawaii for the Hawaii State Museum of Art. Larry’s sculptures sold well for more than six years at Highlands Gallery in Carmel until it closed with the recession in 2008. They’ve been selling well (about 15 pieces a year) at Gump’s in San Francisco since 2010. Also selling at Dana John Gallery in LA, and at Michael Dawkins Home in New York City and Miami. Larry’s work was selected, but not selected, by the Carmel Art Association. They told me they just love my work, but are too nervous about the parts of their gallery where the person at the front desk can’t see if people might bump one of my pieces. (In twelve years, no gallery has had any such problems.) ! Larry was a “math/science major” in high school, fortunate enough to have excellent math teachers who would show students some of the magic of mobius strips, even though they weren’t in the text books. Besides the top-flight math teachers, the school’s literature teachers were good enough that Larry was motivated to go to a liberal arts college, rather than an engineering school. This small private school required all students to give art a try. Larry was tossed, at random, into the school’s sculptor’s class, and fell in love. Sculpture was his focus that school year, and he went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts at San Francisco Art Institute.
Then the river went underground, surfacing little, if at all, for quite a few years. About twelve years ago, the beauty of exotic hardwood got Larry back into sculpting, and then he discovered the translucence and delicacy of alabaster. From school days on, Larry has enjoyed pushing materials to the limit, taking his work thinner than anyone with experience would advise. ! How do I work? Handheld power tools in a 6 ft by 6 ft shop in my back yard. There are no big powerful tools that make it quick and easy to create these forms in wood and alabaster; besides, powerful tools would destroy these delicate edges. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in sculpture - but what that taught me, mostly, is what forms I like, and what I don’t - and that, in general, I can probably figure out how to make, to realize, whatever comes to mind. And, maybe, it makes me watch for, listen for, things that might pop into my mind. In particular, I’ve never taken a class or workshop in stone sculpture. I guess what made it work is that idea, “I can probably figure this out.” A lot of people ask: do you break a lot? Actually not. I work very gradually up to the final edge, and I don’t use tools that are likely to get away from me. At least, they’re manageable with experience. And they ask: can you see the mobius in the block of stone? Now I can. When I first started, I had to have a paper model right alongside at all times. Inspired by paper, you can see why my pieces are as thin as they are. I’m often asked: why the Möbius strip? Why the double twist (as I call it)? I do see other sculptors do other forms of various smooth simple lines – but to me, now, they look sort of haphazard. The simplest forms are circles, squares, triangles, and such – well known, well explored. To me, the Möbius, the double twist, are the immediate