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 Sylvia Stone  (1928 - )

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Lived/Active: New York/Ontario      Known for: sculptor-large-scale environmental

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from Auction House Records.
Summer Garden
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Constructivist sculptor Sylvia Stone was born in 1928 in Toronto, Canada and is known for her large-scale sculpture with environmental themes. Her preferred mediums are transparent plexiglas and opaque acrylic sheets, sometimes as long as 30 feet. She began this type of work in sculpture as a transition in the 1960s from working with shaped paintings on plastic. Her motive, a reaction from an unhappy childhood, was to "create a poetic, aesthetic environment as an alternative to the real world and present the spectator with the illusion of a fantastic architecture, which can be entered." (Rubinstein, 366).

Stone's childhood was disrupted by poverty and family break-up, so she sought realization of her dreams of a stable family through intense drawing activity. Stone went to New York City in 1946 at the age of seventeen, leading a very difficult life, supporting herself, with some financial aid from her family, while trying to attend the Art Students League, sometimes at night, sometimes during the day. Preference was given returning soldiers, so Stone would often sneak into classes in order to receive some criticism of her painting, then work at home.

Stone studied first with Harry Sternberg, a Social Realist, at the League, but then became more attracted to abstraction, seeking out Morris Kantor and Vyclav Vytlacil. An early marriage, undertaken, Stone believes, to try to create a family she never really had, failed, when with children and still in her early twenties, she felt the strong need to pursue her art. She then married Al Held, abstract painter and Chairman of Yale University's School of Art and Architecture. Stone became a Professor of Art at Brooklyn College, New York and lived in New York City beginning 1946.

In terms of art styles, Stone moved from figurative, to abstract landscape, to hard-edge painting, until, in the 1960s, with the art world's increased awareness of materials and their manipulation, she evolved to the geometric use of Plexiglas as her medium. She continued in its use, creating structures with names like " Crystal Palace," Another Place," and "The Only Entrance", names that reflect the artist's inbuilt need to construct a home, a place where her spirit may express itself and find residence.

Since the 1960s, Sylvia Stone has exhibited widely. In 1975, she was part of the major show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, "Two Hundred Years of American Sculpture." She received a Creative Artists Public Service grant in 1971 from the New York State Council on the Arts; and a grant in 1976 from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Other group exhibitions include, 1969 at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; 1969, 1971, 1973 at the "Sculpture Annuals" of the Whitney Museum of American Art; 1975 in Budapest, Hungary at the "3rd Biennale of Small Sculpture; and 975 at the Hayward Gallery, London, England.

Some one-person exhibitions include large painted Plexiglass cutouts in 1967 at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York City; 1972, 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1980 at the Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York City; and 1977 at Bennington College, Vermont.

Sylvia Stone's sculpture is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, Connecticut; Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut; Xerox Corporation; and Walker Art Center.

Writings about Sylvia Stone include Eleanor Munro's "Originals: American Women Artists", published by Simon and Schuster in 1979; art critic Hilton Kramer's November 7, 1980 review in "The New York Times", 'Sylvia Stone (Emmerich);' and Charlotte S. Rubinstein's "American Women Artists", published by G.K. Hall in1982.

Jules and Nancy Heller, "North American Women Artists of the 20th Century"
Charlotte Rubenstien, "American Women Artists"

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