William Turnbull 1/11/1922 – 11/16/2012

Bullet Shih Nov, 2012 0
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William Turnbull ObituaryScottish sculptor William Turnbull has passed away at age 90.  Turnbull was born the son of a shipyard engineer in Dundee, Scotland and started his career as an illustrator for publisher DC Thompson.  However, perhaps as a nod to his youth around the shipyard, Turnbull soon began delving into metal work.  Known for his minimalist sculptures, Turnbull spent most of the 20th century working with simple totemic forms which seemed to draw their inspiration from the art of Western Africa and that of the Pacific Islanders.

Over the course of his career, Turnbull’s work drew parallels with that of Giacometti, Brancussi, Hepworth, and Moore.  His paintings however were much more aligned with New York abstract expressionist artists such as Motherwell and Gottlieb, and later Barnett Newman.   Artist Anthony Gormley described Turnbull as a “radical modernist who realizes that sculpture is of its nature, archaic.  In other words, it comes from a very atavistic part of the human subconsciousness and he doesn’t want to deny anything…he unhitches the relationship between scale and size and can make very small things that can actually makes you think of endless space or huge space”.

William Turnbull Obituary


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