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Meaningful rocks and metal

By Anna Roe
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 25, 2000
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For some people, a rock is not just something to climb and metal is for more than building skyscrapers.

George Ehnat, a Tucson sculptor and UA alumnus, is one of those people.

Ehnat has recently returned to his alma mater to display his works in the University of Arizona Museum of Art.

The exhibit, appropriately titled "Sculptural Forms in Stone and Bronze, 1997-2000," displays Ehnat's skill and ingenuity with stone formations.

The 20-piece display transpired during his trips to the Slovak Republic, the first being in 1996. On these tours, Ehnat was introduced to multiple influential sculptures of the area.

After viewing these foreign works, Ehnat ended his 20-year hiatus from bronze working.

Produced in both Slovakia and his downtown Tucson workshop, Ehnat used an assortment of rocks for the exhibit - from black African granite with hematite sphere to paler stones such as Catalina marble, Indiana limestone and white Colorado Yule marble.

Ehnat successfully contrasted each piece from the next, not only in color, but texturally as well. Some pieces were polished to perfect smoothness, while others remained in their raw states.

The majority of the works in the exhibit are made of bronze, which Ehnat also displays in versatile ways. The two hanging pieces consisting of joint metallic bubbles - a smaller green and black streaked piece and copper colored sculptures - all show the intensity and variety that Ehnat is capable of creating with the metal.

"As an object maker, the materials I choose for a project are selected for their inert symbolism (granite symbolizes strength; marble symbolizes love; metal symbolizes durability), ability to be worked and degree of elasticity (clay, wax, and plaster and each produce a unique cast)," Ehnat said in the exhibit press release.

Ehnat also said he is not destroying the landscape, but rather putting part of himself into the pieces by re-assembling the shape and texture.

The show is running until Feb. 20. Ehnat will be demonstrating "Sunday in the Plaza with George," his process of stone ball creation, on Jan. 30. The demonstration is at 2 p.m. in the Fine Arts courtyard.

Anna Roe can be reached at catalyst@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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