Fred Sandback’s early interest in stringed instruments like banjos would serve as the basis of his artistic practice for the majority of his career. Through the use of acrylic yarn in various colors, he created works that outlined Minimal three-dimensional forms that were open and inviting to viewers. Sandback believed that “interiors were elusive. You can’t ever see an interior.” In creating sculpture that avoided the interior, he was able to more fully and strongly convey the volume and dimension of a particular object without eclipsing it. Viewers recognize the essence of the Sandback’s subjects without the distraction of searching for its interior.
For his presentation at Dia:Beacon, Sandback seamlessly integrated older pieces with newer ones in order to orient and ground the viewer in a specific situation. Each sculpture was newly parsed for this site. While a substructure may be apparent in several works, each appears differently. For example, the specific measurements, proportions, and the tone or hue of the yarn may have been adapted or altered as the artist intuitively adjusted a work to both its neighbors and its new location. In these sculptures, space evokes an ethereal distinction; the spectator concentrates less on the edges or the yarn demarcating the forms, than on the planar or volumetric components contained within.
Fred Sandback was born in Bronxville, New York, in 1943. He died in New York City in 2003.