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White Plains Sculptor Shows 'Sixty-Four Hands'

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Eric Wildrick, 60, has crafted a 20-foot tribute to workers by reincarnating 64 partially rusted garden picks into a series of stars in the courtyard of ArtsWestchester. The White Plains sculptor said the design of “Sixty-Four Hands” came to him while studying the courtyard two months ago.

“I look these sculptures made of tools as small monuments to those whose hands have worked with the tools. I look at it as a part of the history of human kind’s work. Tools are a symbol of work across many cultures,” said Wildrick.

“It’s site specific in the sense that I made it to fit in a space that is open to the sky," he said. "Although, they’re made of steel and quite heavy, I saw them as fluttering down into the space and assembling on the floor of the courtyard.”

Wildrick said he was pleased the steel sculpture of broken-down and reassembled tools will be displayed alongside 20 other local artists’ work in ArtsWestchester’s Sculpture: On and Off the Wall exhibit through May 20. He said ArtsWestchester Director Janet Langsam and gallery coordinator Kathleen Reckling worked hard to showcase a medium that is hard to display.

“It’s fantastic that there’s a venue for showing community sculpture. It’s not the easiest medium to show because of its size and weight and shape, so it’s really a great opportunity,” he said.

After years of scouring tag sales and flea markets for used tools, Wildrick said he began working with a tool dealer to collect materials for his sculptures.

"I’m really interested in recycling, not only the tool, but the idea of using recycled elements in my work from an ecological standpoint as well,” said Wildrick, who has taught Sculpture at SUNY-Purchase for more than 30 years. “I work primarily in found tools. They provide me with a variety of clues for form-making. I enjoy their shape, their age, their patina.”

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