The Gardener (Melissa with Bob Marley Shirt)
67 x 36 x 36 in. (170.2 x 91.4 x 91.4 cm)
Medium and Support:
Pigmented fiberglass resin with cement base
Herdle-Moore Fund, Maurice R. and Maxine B. Forman Fund, Thelma M. Knapp Fund, and with the support of attendees on the 2019 Frieze Los Angeles art trip
Location: Currently on view
John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres have worked together and independently to make casts directly from living models since the early 1980s. Each sculpture is the result of a sustained interaction and creative collaboration with the sitter, offering a realistic portrait of an individual from their South Bronx neighborhood. Ahearn explains:
"We were working with neighborhood friends to create free-standing figures that define aspects of community… Melissa was constantly in the studio, she loved children, and she was an active gardener… her favorite sweatshirt featured the image of Bob Marley with his words, "WE AFRICANS MUST FIGHT IF NECESSARY FOR WE ARE CONFIDENT IN THE VICTORY OF GOOD OVER EVIL.'"
Melissa’s casual attire and the everyday objects she holds seem to indicate her work as a gardener, yet the portrait takes on the quality of the sculpted saints found in churches. Melissa gazes up into the sky. Is she simply checking for rain, or is there a divine source attracting her attention?
[Hawks Gallery reinstallation, summer 2019]