45° Parallel, 1974. Aluminum, concrete, wood, and underground pool of water, 2 floating elements, 360 x 11–12 in. diameter.

Salvatore Romano: The Poetic Counterpoint in American Sculpture

There is a certain quality of the existential bon vivant in the work of Salvatore Romano, or maybe he is just a good American pragmatist whose sculpture suggests playfulness in the inventive manner of Arp and Calder. The terms don’t really matter. When I look at a work as stupendous and powerful as his recent large-scale Tornado (2005), there is much one can say in academic terms regarding playful complexity. On a formal and emotional level, this exquisitely soldered brass and copper tour de force startles the eye with its anthropomorphic torso-like momentum. Then it makes me think about the meaning and plasticity of the word “power” when applied to sculpture, that perhaps it is necessary to consider that works of art can be both material and metaphorical at the same time. Perhaps, we need to think less about politics in art and more about the insight that emerges from truly significant art through the heart and mind of the artist.