Beverly Pepper was an American sculptor and land artist who created monumental, site-specific artworks and installation. The artist was born in New York City but moved to Italy in the 1950s, where she spent the rest of her career. Pepper reportedly studied painting before being so inspired by temples in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, that she decided to pursue sculpture.
Though this image looks very deliberately staged, it still offers an interesting look into the artist’s practice and workspace. The colours in this photo are rich, and feel natural -- the texture of wood and metal in the process of being worked hearkens to the studio spaces of fellow metal sculptors Richard Serra, or wood sculptor David Nash.
Some of the artist’s works or works-in-progress are visible lined up on the table behind her, and one can get a sense of the aesthetic and shapes that Pepper tended to work with. I also like that the artist’s dog is in the shot with her -- a studio companion always makes a space feel more home-like and inviting, even if pets likely wouldn’t be allowed in certain areas of an industrial studio like this.
From the 1980s onward, Pepper produced a number of site-specific, outdoor works combining industrial materials with elements of nature found in park spaces. These works include one in the city of Calgary, Alberta, title Calgary Sentinels and Hawk Hill. The artist had her first major retrospective of her work in Los Angeles in 2017. Pepper passed away in early 2020 at the age of 97.