Female Head, 2003
64 1/2 x 9 x 7 7/8 inches (164 x 23 x 20 cm.)
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Stephan Balkenhol is an American painter famous for his larger-than-life wooden sculptures. While the emphasis was on conceptual, abstract and minimal art during the 1970s, the artist’s focus on a figurative representation of the human form set him apart from his contemporaries. Balkenhol carves his figures directly from tree blocks, using his own hands. Embodying universality and individuality, anonymity and distinctiveness, aliveness and inanimation, his figures while devoid of any emotion keep the unique marks left by the raw use of his tools. Balkenhol is represented by internationally reputable galleries such as Thaddaeus Ropac and Stephen Friedman and his works are collected by major institutions of the likes of the Modern Museum of Modern Art.
Female Head is a reinterpretation of his acclaimed early body of work, consisting of male and female nudes attached to pedestals. Echoing classical Greek statues, Balkenhol’s female looks at us with a blue-eyed and lifeless gaze, asking us to solve her puzzle. 'My sculptures don't tell any stories. Something mysterious is hidden in them. It is not my job to reveal it, but that of the viewer to discover it.'