Saturday, May 26, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on August 27th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 25 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 15, Issue 25

Gallery Los Olivos features the 3-D works of Larry R. Rankin


This piece, “Renaissance,” involved hours of preparation before the 2,050-degree liquid bronze it’s made out of could be poured.

Local artist Larry R. Rankin never knows what he will make when he enters his studio. Depending on the medium he is working in, he may have to command a form into existence or graciously guide a natural material into art. The upcoming show Bronze, Wood, and Stone is a showcase of Rankin’s chosen media, exhibiting the different yet similar inspiration each form elicits from him.

“All of my pieces are emotionally invoked; I just do it when I feel it,” he said. “Many of my pieces are nonobjective; they are nonrepresentational, but even then, when we look at something as a human being, we associate it or see it as something.”

If Rankin isn’t creating a sculpture with a specific idea, he is simply studying forms and shapes, with no reference to anything other than a feeling. This is most apparent in his bronze works, because when he works with wood and stone, he is often influenced by more than just emotions.

“When I am working with wood or I am working with stone, even though it is emotionally evoked, I work with the material,” Rankin said. “So, if I am working with the stone and there is something in the stone that tells me to go with it, I will change my design in order to work with the stone or wood.”

Many of Larry Rankin’s pieces are representations of obvious forms, such as this piece “Wind Song,” while others are completely nonrepresentational.

His bronzes—some of the largest weigh more than 1,000 pounds—are not guided by the medium’s character limitations, as bronze is the last element Rankin incorporates into each piece he casts. With the elaborate and time-consuming process that involves making casts, molds, and more, Rankin perfects his form before heating up his forge.

“When I am working with bronze, I am a dictator,” he said. “I do whatever I feel that needs to be done.”

Three-dimensional art can mean many things, but Rankin believes his art can serve as functional pieces that show well in both the gallery and home settings.

“You can present a three-dimensional piece like a painting,” he said. “I want to show people how this three-dimensional art could show in a home.”

For Rankin, the show serves as a kind of proof that he can work outside of bronze, which he is best known for. He is including several sculptures mounted on barn wood and hung on the walls, something he has never done before.

“The show will be totally different than anything they have had at Gallery Los Olivos,” he said. “There is so much talent there, but most people do ceramic or paintings, but what I am doing is really three-dimensional and something different.”

Catch the show
September’s featured show at Gallery Los Olivos is Bronze, Wood, and Stone by sculptor Larry R. Rankin. The artist’s reception is Sept. 13 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Gallery Los Olivos, 2920 Grand Ave., Los Olivos. More info: 688-7517.

The larger pieces will be staying at home, but the artist’s smaller works—which weigh anywhere from 100 to 300 pounds—will make up the show. About 25 pieces will be on display, Rankin explained, with bronzes, stones like alabaster, and woods like cherry, black walnut, and avocado.

“I am excited about these because they are a kind of anomaly,” Rankin said. “It’s not anything people are used to seeing.”


Arts Editor Joe Payne enjoys arts of all elements. Contact him at

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