The Times, February 24, 1992  
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By Gordon Ligocki - Times Correspondent

LaVergne's introspective approach evocative
Artist's sculpture on display at Governors State University

 

  It's not glitzy, sarcastically poppish or compulsively photographic. Rather, Albert LaVergne's figure sculpture at Governors State University gallery embodies a straightforward personal approach to figurative sculpture.
  Only a handful of ultra-realists like Duane Hansen and Peter Del Andrea with nearly photographic goosebump and varicose vien detail have been prominent among figurative sculptors. While their signature realism is initially disarming, it leaves little to viewer imagination and even less room for future expansion of concept by either originator or follower.
  Beyond such blind alleys, few proponents of serious figurative sculpture have prospered. LaVergne's metal works do offer a more sensitive and formalized body of work that asks the audience to relate to figure groups and body fragments.
  How do these more generalized acrobat figures interrelate with each other and with the audience? This less detailed format opens the door for more individual symbolic interpretations and for dynamic formal variations.
  Remarkably, the Kalamazoo, Mich., artist jumps a border between the mediums of fabricated steel and cast bronze with enough dexterity to create the same feeling in both. One must momentarily examine the surfaces of the large welded/ground/buffed steel assemblies to determine that they are not larger cast variations on the pedestal bronzes. This is an unusually work-intensive approach to welded steel sculpture.
  In their directness, they are fresher than the smaller bronzes because the artist's involvement with the entire surface is evidenced through process. "Acrobats", a composition of two large figures, proudly bears the sculptor's grinding and buffing marks almost as a calligraphy on the surface.
  The delicate balance of the two figures in motion is most effective in this piece. Were it not, the viewer might unconciously sense that not only the depicted acrobats, but the actual sculpture, might verge on toppling.
  Very notably detailed and correct anatomy on the hands and feet belie what is too often perceived as an awkward, stiff sculpture medium - welded steel. Beyond that, the artist's concern for orchestrating the open spaces between the physical figures remains the real strength of the show.
  In the smaller bronzes, presumably modeled in clay or wax before being cast, the balance acquires a whip-like movement. More ambitious and romantic in composition, bronzes like "Brotherhood" focus attention to the overall elipses of flowing figures.
  While these organic movements are exhilarating in those figure groups, LaVergne better hones in on form in fragments of the body. In pieces like "Hand # 2", "Foot" and "Swing," he roams farther from anatomical restrictions into more personal formal experiments.
  "Foot" and "Swing" particularly emphasize exciting organic contours and masses that flow thicker and thinner, wind spirals and balance against each other in very inviting compositions. These are LaVergne's real acrobats - the ones that almost take on a life and movement of their own.

Governors State University is located in University Park Illinois (west of Crete and south of Park Forest) on Exchange Avenue. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Fridays. For further information, call (708) 534-5000, Ext. 2412.