Sculptor Lewis Iselin and his wife, a free-lance writer, were in Columbus last week for the opening of a show¬ing of his sculpture at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. They are pictured with "Serene," one of 26 figures and portraits in the exhibit. (Photographed by Richard Garrett.)

Mostly About Women

Sorrow Is Young, Serenity Is Seated

By CHARLOTTE CURTIS (Citizen Journal Society Editor)

Sorrow Memory (1952) is a young woman, wrapped in a blanket, standing beside an empty grave. "SHE FEELS alone," said Sculptor Lewis Iselin. "Her head is slightly tilted, and she's looking off into space." She stands tall, gaunt and erects against a wall in Suresnes, France, at the United States Military Cemetery — a memorial to the dead of World War II. And her anguished sister of the Korean War [Woman in Sorrow (1950), 12 inches of emotion in bronze, is at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts.

"I had some trouble with the military," Mr. Iselin explained. "They said sorrow should be old. I said she should be young. They let me do it my way.

MR. ISELIN, here to show 26 figures and portraits, is a boyish looking artist with sandy hair, a button-down collar and an Eastern background. At 47, he is one of the better known young sculptors. His work has been shown in numerous galleries including New York's Metropolitan Museum and Whitney Museum of Modern Art. And he had to close a show at the Maynard Walker Gallery in New York before he and his auburnhaired wife, a free-lance writer, could come to Columbus."We closed in New York on Saturday," he said. "On Monday, we took the show apart. And on Tuesday, we packed everything into a you-haul-it truck, hitched it onto the station wagon, and drove out here."

THE SCULPTURE, except the terra cotta portrait of the baby John Jay Pierrepont, is bronze. The Biblical and purely creative figures are uniformly elongated and stylized. The portraits, mostly of famous people, are representational. And the collection survived the New York-to-Columbus trip thanks to sufficient padding.

"The two big girls (72 inches of "Eve" and 72 inches of "Mary Magdalene") fitted into the back of the station wagon," Mr. Iselin said. "The others were in the truck."

The visit to Columbus is Mr. Iselin's first. He has shown his works in Chicago, but never in the less cosmopolitan hinterlands. "THE ONLY WAY to get art to the people is to take it to them," he said. "You've got to go to the people. The old-fashioned snob concept - that art had to come from Italy, France or 57th St. in New York - is gone. That market won't support you anymore."

Sculpture, he said, is becoming more popular both as an occupation and as something the average family considers buying for artistic reasons. Shops that sell sculptors' tools stay in business. And hobbyists are taking up sculpturing as part of the do-it-yourself trend. "Until recently, nobody made any money at it," he said. "Before the depression, you could. Now, it's coming back again. It's my occupation, but I couldn't conceivably make a living from it. If we'd elect an American president who sculpts, we'd be in business."

PEOPLE THINK of sculpture as being cold and formidable - something for stores or museums. Actually, it is a powerful art form which is meant to com¬municate with people, both intellectually and emotionally. "It takes a little more ef¬fort from the practical standpoint," said Mr. Iselin. "You've got to light it properly and it should have a base. Small pieces shouldn't be left lying around like knicknacks. Larger pieces look better out of doors, on a large patio, or in the right kind of house."Of the pieces being shown here, only the "Mary Magdalene" seems to completely satisfy her creator."IN A SENSE, I worked on her for five years," he said. "She's cooked. She's done. I won't do her again."

The difference between sculpturing and writing, he said, is that the artist can never go back to where he was yesterday. There is no carbon copy. The sculpture must go on. Often, it is finished before it is done. And then it must be discarded.

"'Cry of Youth' is gay," he said of a creative piece. "‘Serene' is shy and seated. And 'Woman in Sorrow,' my Korean memorial, has a look of anguish about her. In the Navy, they have a saying that goes, 'Say goodbye and never look back.' She is the girl, and she looks as if she's going to cry."

(Women's features, p.13)