George Segal: Street Scenes

May 9, 2009—August 2, 2009

The Human Condition
Segal’s primary subject, the psychological complexity of ordinary people, is immediate and universal.

An astute observer of human nature, Segal used the figure as his expressive vehicle. Rather than selecting Hollywood-like models with idealized features, he said he chose “ordinary human beings with no great pretentions” because they were “beautiful….It’s a different idea of beauty and it has to do with…the gift of life.”

Segal used gesture, pose and the relation of one figure to another to suggest psychological states. His subjects appear lost in thought and isolated, even in the midst of other people. In spite of their shared humanity and presumed desire for meaningful connection, Segal’s figures often convey the alienation of life. They can also reflect the poetry found in ordinary existence—the in-between moments of life.

Segal’s life-sized figures—sitting, standing or striding—share our space and thus evoke physical and psychological identification. The innate urge to strike a similar pose confirms the shared moment. Rooted in daily life, Segal’s sculptures speak broadly to the human condition.

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