1988 - metal: bronze
'Sage' and 'Sage B', both cast in bronze, are on view in the Water Garden. Abakanowicz's 'Sage B' was shown previously at Grounds For Sculpture in 1993 in celebration of the opening of the main exhibition building. The sculpture that inspired the Sage cycle is entitled 'Figure on an Iron Seat', which depicts a seated adult form made from burlap. It was created by Abakanowicz in 1988, a period when the artist was also concentrating on multiple burlap castings of adolescent figures. When realized in bronze, the form was simplified--the hands placed on the figure’s lap melded into the knees and as a whole the figure became more abstract and monolithic. As in all of Abakanowicz’s works, each 'Sage' is a unique casting, and evidence of the ceramic shell from the casting process is allowed to remain on the roughly textured surface; no polishing or patinating process is performed. The placement of the headless 'Sage' and 'Sage B' on high, stepped blocks creates a physical and psychological distance between the seated figures and the viewer.