THOMAS HOUSEAGO, Yet to be titled, 2015, Tuf-Cal, hemp, iron rebar, and redwood, 77 × 20 × 19 1/2 inches (195.6 × 50.8 × 49.5 cm). Photo by Fredrik Nilsen
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Thomas Houseago is vanguard in his approach to sculpture’s original subject, the human body. Utilizing mediums associated with classical and modernist sculpture—such as carved wood, clay, plaster, and bronze—as well as less traditional materials like rebar and hemp, Houseago builds monumental figures rife with the traces of their making. Body parts rendered from flat portions of wood adjoin with others sculpted in the round to create interplay between two and three dimensional elements. His bulky-shouldered figures replace the grace of their serpentine contrapposto stance with awkward contortions of piecemeal appendages. Crouched and stilted on thick limbs, these reductive interpretations convey a striking sense of weight and anatomical structure. By tapping into the nuanced legibility of the human form, Houseago’s figures oscillate between states of power and of vulnerability.
Thomas Houseago was born in 1972 in Leeds, England. He studied at the Central Saint Martins College of Art, London and De Ateliers, Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions include the “The Artist’s Museum,” MOCA, Los Angeles (2010); “What Went Down,” Modern Art Oxford (2010; traveled to Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach; and Centre International d’Art et du Paysage; île de Vassivière, through 2011); “The Beat of the Show,” Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2011); “The World Belongs to You,” Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2011); “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Thomas Houseago: Hermaphrodite,” Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, Norwich (2012); “Thomas Houseago: Striding Figure/Standing Figure,” Galleria Borghese, Rome (2013); “As I Went Out One Morning,” Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York (2013); and “Masks (Pentagon),” Rockefeller Center Plaza, New York (2015). His work was included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial.
Houseago currently lives and works in Los Angeles.