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Barbara Chase-Riboud

Artist 186

Barbara Chase-Riboud

Feminine Strength


Barbara Chase-Riboud (born June 26, 1939) is an American visual artist and sculptor, bestselling novelist, and award-winning poet.

Chase-Riboud gained recognition as an author after the release of her book, Sally Hemings (1979), which earned the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize in Fiction, and became an international success.

It generated conversation around the book's topic of the relationship between Sally Hemings, a slave, and her master, Thomas Jefferson, who became president of the United States.

The artist is known for her larger-than-life sculptures made from cast metal and shrouded in skeins of silk and wool, the strange lovechildren of a suit of armor and a ballgown skirt.

At once strong and fluid and feminine and mechanical and natural, the stunning works became a symbols for feminine strength, as well as a visual manifestation of transformation and integration.

“I love silk, and it’s one of the strongest materials in the world and lasts as long as the bronze,” the artist said. “It’s not a weak material vs. a strong material [...] the transformation that happens in the steles is not between two unequal things but two equal things that interact and transform each other.” - Barbara Chase-Riboud

Chase-Riboud's modern abstract sculptures often combine the durable and rigid metals of bronze and aluminum with softer elements made from silk or other textile material. Using the lost wax method, Chase-Riboud carves, bends, folds, and manipulates large sheets of wax prior to casting molds of the handmade designs. She then pours the metal to produce the metal-work, which melts the original wax sculpture.

The finished metal is then combined with material threads, which are manipulated into knots and cords, and often serve as the base for the metal portion of her sculptures.

Sources Consulted:…/e…/us_58a499b2e4b094a129f1513c/amp…

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