This important cast iron maquette, small preliminary study for a monumental sculpture, was precursor to the seven-foot tall Western Washington University Campus installation of the same name.
Beverly Pepper mentions casting, 'a very small, forged steel sculpture' in her verbal transcript discussing the evolution of the Normanno Wedge at WWU. Pepper relates, that this is a seminal work for her, which emphasizes verticality as well as integrating the earth and sky. ''Positioned on top of a mound, the wedge shape creates a type of urban altar.''
The artist goes on to say, 'Normanno Wedge is part of a series of sculpture based on tools and allowing their metamorphosis into something else. The embryonic state of the tool evolves into something beyond a tool. This began when I was working in foundries and factories and became involved with the beauty of the instruments I used. As a work in process, it is inevitably seductive. With each new mutation, you wonder if you're finished when you actually need to push on to a final form.'
'I used wedges in making some works to split the sculptures and create a space between -- to keep them engaged in a dialogue. Then, the wedges themselves invaded my mind. This began with the first wedge I created -- a very small, forged steel sculpture, made with a drop forge. It was initially difficult because I felt I needed to do the forging myself, though I was not physically capable of manipulating the forge and maneuvering huge weights of steel. At that point, I decided to shift to casting since it would free me to work directly in iron. The originals could be made out of more malleable material.' She continues, '…I call WWU's sculpture Normanno because the man who owned its foundry in Terni (Italy) was named Normanno. Still, it took a lot of persuasion to convince Signor Normano Bernadini to cast that wedge. Eventually, we became great friends and did a lot of work together. Other foundries followed -- my cast iron sculptures made in an industrial foundry, not an art foundry. Industrial casts are coarser and relate more to the concept of the tool.'
This rare and important 19-inch tall preliminary study is not signed. It comes from a private Kansas collection, obtained form the Moline Illinois estate of a John Deere Company executive.