Tony Cragg, born in Liverpool, England, in 1949 has created eclectic yet classic sculptures since the 1970s. Cragg studied at Gloucester College of Art and Design in Cheltenham (1968-69), Wimbledon School of Art (1969-72) and the Royal College of Art (1972-77). In 1977, Cragg moved to Wuppertal, Germany, where he currently resides. With gallery shows and museum openings around the world, Cragg’s pieces assert the artist’s individuality with his elaborate installations, inventive materials and humanitarian themes. He is known best for the unpredictability and diversity of his materials, which include tree trunks, plastic, rubber, copper and glass. From the start of his career, Cragg has innovatively explored the restrictions of his materials with artistic techniques that constantly push conventional limits. His earliest works, from the 70s, consist of found materials that he used to create geometric sculptures and abstract images on gallery floors and walls. A decade later, Cragg used more refined materials such as copper and bronze to create organic representations of laboratory equipment, inspired by his work as a lab technician from 1966 to 1968 at the Natural Rubber Producers Research Association. Cragg continues to test conventional artistic confines. His pieces have most recently been exhibited in the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York. Cragg was awarded the Turner Prize in 1988 and was elected Royal Academician in 1994. In 2001 he received the CBE for services to art and in 2002 the prestigious Piepenbrock Award for sculpture. He was awarded the Praemium Imperiale in 2007. In September 2008 Cragg opened a sculpture park in Wuppertal, Germany. He is teaching at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
A sculptor and conceptual artist, Sol LeWitt has worked since 1964 creating art that focuses on abstract philosophical theories. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1928, LeWitt graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in 1949 and later worked for architect I.M. Pei from 1955 to 1956. In 1962, LeWitt began his career as an artist with his first relief sculpture. LeWitt’s work evolved into modular geometric pieces painted white to emphasize the underlying concept of the sculptures and not the execution. In direct opposition to Abstract Expressionism, LeWitt’s art served as the beginning of a new era in Conceptual Art and the end of the Modernist art revolution. In the late 60s, LeWitt began designing murals and wall drawings of geometric designs, brilliant colors and jarring patterns. Drawn directly onto walls and painted by a team of artists, his works are “temporary,” as they are painted over with the next exhibit or renovation of the hall—another conceptual tactic that lends itself to the non-materialistic and abstract. LeWitt pushed the conventions of art by asserting that art exists abstractly and lives in the intellectual practice of conceptualizing, planning and mapping. By this philosophy, the original imaginative experience presides over the actual creation of the work or the finished product.
LeWitt states in the catalog of his art, “In conceptual art the idea of concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair.” LeWitt designs his pieces himself, but the artistic development of the works ends in his imagination, removing the “creative” out of the “creation” process by halting the emotional or intuitive possibilities that arise during installation.
In 2006, LeWitt’s “Drawing Series…” was displayed at Dia:Beacon and was devoted to the 1970s drawings by the conceptual artist. He had drawn directly on the walls using graphite, colored pencil, crayon, and chalk. The works were based on LeWitt’s complex principles, which eliminated the limitations of the canvas for more extensive constructions.
Leonardo Nierman has been a creative force for more than 45 years. His paintings are exhibited in museums and galleries across the globe including Australia, Sweden, Israel, Vatican City and in 30 states throughout the US. As a world-renowned artist, he has received numerous accolades including: Life Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, London; Diploma of Fine Arts, Monaco; Master of Painting honors, Academia of Italy and the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida worldwide design competition winner.