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Lee Tribe

Prayer (in memory of Tom Bendhem), 2004


300mm x 170mm

Lee Tribe was an apprentice and journeyman, boilmaker/plater at the London Docks (1961-69). He studied at Thurrock Technical College (1970-71), Saint Martins School of Art (1971-75), Birmingham School of Art (1976-77), and was a recipient of the Barnett Newman Scholarschip, New York Studio School (1977-78). He lives and works in New York.

This work is a dense steel organic shaped sculpture. Tribe explains that 'the way I work in steel often leads people to mistake sculptures made from steel for bronze, in a way that is part of my intention.' The form is a massive agglomeration of smaller rounded steel parts that are forced into unity through careful fitting and lots of welds.

Lee Tribe has his roots in the abstract tradition of Julio Gonzalez, David Smith and Anthony Caro. He abandoned the open constructivist idiom that became pervasive in the 1970s and moved toward a more organic approach that seemed to refer back to the notion of the sculptural body. This type of heavy densely packed work is current and it is through them that Tribe's voice in steel sculpture is most independent. They are powerful and expressive vehicles for his emotions.

Tom Bendhem was a member of the committee of Contemporary Art Society from 1984 to 1992 and was invited to be a buyer in 1988. He bequeathed his personal collection of art works to the CAS. A number of significant artists have given CAS more recent works in memory of Tom Bendhem, and the support he gave them at earlier and crucial stages of their careers. Tribe first met Bendhem in 1978 and, even though he was based in New York, they met regularly. Tribe writes 'Tom was truly a very generous man who visibly derived pleasure from his acts of altruism...his concern for one's welfare went beyond providing a fun time. On one of my visits to Tom, I explained I had a health problem and before I knew it...(I) was being delivered to (a) doctor on Harley Street'. He goes on to say 'the man was a gem. A loveable person whose verve and enthusiasm were infectious; to see an exhibition with him could be quite an experience'.

© Lee Tribe, Sculptor NYC


Link to this resource

Donor ref:LEAMG : A1051.2007 (64/28109)

Source: Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum

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