Thaddeus Mosley
Recent Sculpture 
July 15–September 9, 2023
Opening reception: Saturday, July 15, 6–8pm

7351 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles

Karma presents Recent Sculpture, a solo exhibition of sculptures by Thaddeus Mosley, on view from July 15 to September 9, 2023, at 7351 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles. 

For the first time, bronze sculptures by Mosley will be presented alongside his hand-carved works in wood, all of which were created in the last three years. Since the late 1950s, the artist has transformed felled urban hardwoods such as walnut, cherry, and chestnut into totemic, multipart sculptures using only a mallet and chisel. In 2020, Mosley began working in bronze in order to bring his sculptures to life outdoors. He first displayed them at the plaza at New York’s Rockefeller Center that same year, followed by a 2021–22 installation outside of the Harvard Business School. In 2022, Mosley brought them to Paris’s Musée National Eugène Delacroix, where they were displayed in the French artist’s garden. Cast from the wooden sculptures and meticulously patinated to match the natural gradations of their surfaces, these bronzes immortalize Mosley’s organic artworks in a non-corrodible material, facilitating a return to their sylvan origins.

Weighing several hundred pounds more than their wooden counterparts, these metal sculptures nevertheless seem to float. This duality of heft and levity, precarity and monumentality, makes manifest the principle Mosley has termed “weight in space,” in which unwieldy materials are sculpted and arranged so as to appear to levitate. The translation from wood to bronze only underscores the works’ semblance of weightlessness. In Region in Suspension (2020), a thin, planar segment cradled between two columns rises upward. This feat of balance—both aesthetic and physical—invokes the ancient architectural technique of post and lintel, in which heavy horizontal elements are upheld by vertical pillars. The hewn surface of the work, preserved in bronze, tells the story of its own responsive and spontaneous creation. The artist likens this process of working with wood to the “essence of good jazz.” For Hinged Bastion (2020), a freestanding work composed solely of walnut, Mosley exposes the various hues latent in the wood’s layers by leaving two knotty surface burls unaltered. Angular segments crescendo in a seemingly-gravity defying intersection in Repetitive Reference (2020), together forming a lyrical and harmonious whole. 

In the bronze work Branched Form (2020), four curving tines grasp at the air above their slender base as if striking a pose, while undulating lines of chisel marks catch the light and draw the eye up and around the sculpture. As Mosley has noted, “My sculpture, the beauty of it, for me, is the textures that direct your eye and give a sense of rhythm . . . and vitality to the piece. I like the evidence of the hand, evidence of the tool.” The artist utilizes lost-wax casting—an ancient, highly sensitive metalworking technique in which a mold made from an original sculpture yields a wax replica, which is then covered in a second fireproof mold and burned out with molten metal. As a result, these bronze iterations precisely echo each of Mosley’s marks and retain their sense of vitality. Viewed together, Mosley’s works in wood and bronze reveal new elements at each angle—a dance between form and void, space and time, organic and man-made.

Thaddeus Mosley (b. 1926, New Castle, Pennsylvania) is a Pittsburgh-based sculptor working primarily in wood and bronze. Thaddeus Mosley: Forest, which first opened in 2022 at the Baltimore Museum of Art and subsequently traveled to Art+Practice, Los Angeles, is currently on view at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas. Mosley’s work is also presently included in the exhibition Inheritance at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, on view through February 2024. In 2022, his work was presented in the exhibition La Suite de l’Histoire at the Musée National Eugène Delacroix, Paris. In that same year, Mosley was the recipient of the 2022 Isamu Noguchi prize. His work is held in the collections of institutions such as the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; the Art Institute of Chicago; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; and the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine.