Work of the Week – Carioles by Lorrie Goulet
by Parker Louise Bobbitt
This week’s Work of the Week is Carioles by American sculptor Lorrie Goulet.
Throughout history, art has been used to express and connect with the spiritual. In 4000 BCE, the Sumerians created sculptures for the worship of gods and nature and in 1910, Wassily Kandinsky published ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art,’ exploring the spirituality intrinsic to the creation of and the finished works of art. Lorrie Goulet takes inspiration from the religious, ancient works of the Sumerians and, following Kandinsky’s tradition, recognizes her art as a quest for beauty and a reflection of the yearnings of her soul.
Carioles is a green serpentine carving combining both abstract and figurative elements to create an organic cloud-like shape that carries three women. Goulet is purposeful in choosing her materials for their color and grain. Through Goulet’s delicate carving process, this heavy material seemingly becomes light and floating. The stylistic faces of the female figures appear ethereal and tranquil, alluding to the spiritual themes of Goulet’s work.
Lorrie Goulet stated that making art reflects “man’s quest for beauty and the yearnings of his soul.” She views her artistic process as a meditative practice. Just as the Sumerian art she draws inspiration from dealt with concepts of spirituality, Goulet focuses on spirituality throughout her work.
Lorrie Goulet was born in 1925 in Riverdale, NY. At a young age, Goulet was introduced to clay by her mother while she was sick in bed with the measles. She had grown tired of paper dolls and instantly fell in love with sculpting. Shortly after this, she began studying pottery with Aimee Vorhees at the Inwood Pottery Studio. Vorhees greatly influenced Goulet, encouraging her to pursue art throughout her life. From 1943 through the summer of 1944, she attended Black Mountain College where she studied under Josef Albers and Jose de Creeft whom she later married. Beginning in 1981, she taught direct carving at the Arts Students League of New York until her retirement in 2004. Lorrie Goulet has traveled throughout the United States and Europe where she was inspired by the sculpture of Sumerians and Caldeans as well as cubists such as Marcel Duchamp. These references are seen in Goulet’s sculptures throughout her career.
“Outside of now there is no other time,” wrote Lorrie Goulet in one of her poems. Goulet treats carving as a meditative process which she considers to be a process of discarding with the complexities of life to reach the purity within the stone and within herself. Her work evokes the strong presence of spirituality she sees throughout life. Beginning her work without expectations, Goulet’s process is a spiritual journey of discovery.
Artwork above: Lorrie Goulet, Carioles, 1976, carved green serpentine stone, 16.75 x 23.5 x 9.63 inches. Gift of the artist. Black Mountain College Collection. 2008.25.01.31.