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Sculptor Pepper Blends Art With Nature, Fourth Dimension

By John D. Weston

Beverly Pepper, who launched her sculpting career by carving fallen tree trunks, told an audience at Hilles yesterday that she tries to cooperate with time, the fourth dimension, in molding the monumental steel sculptures for which she has become famous.

For example, the 51-year-old artist said, time--as manifested in seasonal variations--guided her decision to place a large land sculpture for Dartmouth College below ground. There, she explained, the sculpture will be covered by snow in the winer and then reappear in spring, "like a plant."

Pepper explained the process of creating and executing public sculptures to 30 art students and professors gathered in the Hilles Library Colloquium Room. Pepper is currently a visiting artist in the Learning From Performers series sponsored by the Office for the Arts.

Men and Women, Together

Showing slides of her recent works, Pepper stressed her desire to make them interact with people. She said she tries to "involve men and women with each other and with their environment." Many of her stainless steel sculptures reflect the sky and land, illustrating her attempt to "complete the sculpture with the environment," she said.

Rings of concentric circles characterize Pepper's work. The artist likes to break up these circles with contrasting linear shapes that balance precariously in space. She said that she tries to use this effect to reflect the delicate inner nature of an individual.

Answering a question from the audience, Pepper said, "Sculptors do not make money; they make art. If you're in it for the money, get out."

"People cannot buy your work--they have simply paid money for it," Pepper said. Sculptors, she explained, own their work for the rest of their lives.

Before turning to sculpture, Pepper painted for 11 years. Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries across the United States and in Italy, where she lives in a 14th-century castle.

Pepper will speak again today at 3 p.m. in the Colloquium Room. Her second talk will focus on the problems of putting contemporary works of art in public places and the relationship between the artist and the public.

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