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What You Missed + What’s Next: Two Talks with Artist Barbara Ségal

This past Thursday I had the chance to join other Purchase students for an online discussion with artist Barbara Ségal and Purchase College professor of art history Paul Kaplan. The Zoom discussion was led by Rebecca (Rem) Ribeiro, one of the M+ cohort students responsible for organizing the Concentrated Power project highlighting Ségal’s sculpture, Dash, that is on view now in the Open Classroom at the Neuberger Museum of Art.

Ségal is a local artist who is known globally. Her work has appeared in galleries across the world, on the pages and screens of many art publications, and on video in a TEDx Talk. When he’s not lecturing, Kaplan’s work outside the classroom focuses on the influences of both Black and Jewish cultures on western works of art.

Both speakers referenced the diversity of sculpture over time. Kaplan compared Ségal’s use of different materials to techniques found in classic architecture. “… one thing that immediately came to mind was a church in Venice and the use of material and technique within the design.”
In Conversation - Barbara Segal and Paul Kaplan, April 8, 2021

Ségal’s agreed with Kaplan’s observation, noting that she had been “blown away” by the architecture when she toured Europe as a young artist. Even today, Ségal says she remains focused on trying to reproduce the emotional feeling she had looking at the art and techniques done in Romanesque architecture.

Later, she shared her experience as a young artist arriving in Paris where she “sat down to a stone-carving workshop, not yet knowing how much she would love it.”

After hearing about Ségal’s life and work, along with Kaplan’s art history background and influence, the conversation was opened up for a discussion with those who were watching online. Rem started the questions by asking about the artist’s production technique and tips for Purchase art students who might be struggling with what to focus on when sculpting: “When working with objects from stone, do you focus solely on observation or does photography and drawing come into play?”

“I look at the object,” Ségal replied. “I use a lot of photography. I used to draw a lot … but I don’t anymore. Everything I do now is on Photoshop. I make a lot of virtual studies.” The artist also said she often relies upon 3-D clay models as the base for her sculpting.

The final question of the evening was specific to the motivation behind Dash.

“It was just fate,” she said.
In Conversation - Barbara Segal and Paul Kaplan, April 8, 2021
If you missed this artist talk, the recording will be posted soon. You also have a chance to see another session ‘live’ as Barbara Ségal returns on April 22 at 6pm for another Zoom Artist Talk with Professor Mary Kosut from Purchase’s Sociology Department and Professor Leslie Wilson from the college’s Art History faculty. Don’t miss your chance to meet the artist virtually and ask her your questions!

Eve Hlavatovic
Neuberger Museum of Art
Spring 2021 Communications Intern
NEU Student Voices Blogger