Abstract Expressionist sculptor and painter Herbert Ferber was one of the New York School’s most original artists. Known as the founder of “sculpture as environment,” Ferber created one of the first fully-immersive sculptural installations, which was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1961.
Ferber is most recognized for his sculpture, characterized as powerfully “piercing” space. They are open, hollow forms that often suggest forces in conflict. The artist’s sculptural practice developed slowly and thoughtfully, incorporating elements of Surrealism, social realism, and expressionism.
Throughout the 1930s, Ferber worked primarily with carved wood and stone in a figurative style, but he stopped making wood sculptures in the mid-1940s. Inspired by Henry Moore, Ferber began experimenting with steel-reinforced concrete and abstract forms. He is credited with creating one of the earliest environmental sculptures in 1960. Ferber was also an accomplished painter; he applied abstract motifs to the relief-like bases of his sculptures.