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Priscilla K Sage

Priscilla K Sage

  • Associate Professor Emeritus
"I love the interactions of people walking through my sculptures. Art is an expression or the human spirit, and viewers will react to the changing shapes and colors in the context of their own humanity."
I am endlessly fascinated by color and form and the relationships between them. Three-dimensional forms and color are complex phenomena and become more so when the forms start moving so that light plays on different surfaces. My sculptures are lightweight, designed to move in air currents so the colors make that sensuous slide from convex to concave or turn from a cool exterior to a rich vibrant interior. Although I work on a large scale, my inspiration comes from the structure of natural forms that can be as small as mosses, as sinuous as the DNA helix, as vast as images from the Hubbel telescope, or as personal as the human body. The underlying theme of my sculpture is the relationship of humans and nature. There are deep and powerful connexions between ourselves and everything else; the longer we look the more we see how our existence and the nature of the universe are part of one consist picture.

In my work, the form comes first. I start with small, white paper models to examine an idea and to work out the geometry of a piece. The beauty of paper models is that you can play and play and, if necessary, crumple them up and start anew. It is hard to leave this stage, but eventually it's time to construct a full-size paper model to check the calculations, the connections, and the tension. If I am working with a new form, I go on to build a white fabric model—there's too much at stake to get it wrong. I also design for the slivers of space that create important tension between forms, and for the openings to interior spaces that offer surprises. When the form is clean, it's time for color.

Color has a voice that is deeply human, and the emotional content of my pieces comes through color and color relationships. Having decided the value and intensity of each color, I glaze silver Mylar fabric with layers of acrylic paints and then draw or stencil over that. There is a fluid quality as one color merges into the next and the eyes follow the stripes, going in and out from light to dark. The silver underneath influences the color, and the line work creates richness and illusions on the surface.

Finally the fabric is cut and stitched to its polyurethane padding. The flat, padded forms are folded and pleated; the way the wedges come together, intersect, and connect creates the form. At this point the piece is basically finished. Each piece hangs from a single point and is engineered to fall out from itself with no internal supports so that it can present different aspects and colors as it floats.

Contact Info

Primary Residence
435 Welch Ave


  • Pennsylvania State University, Art, 1954-1958 B.S
  • Columbia University, Art, 1959-1960
  • Iowa State University, Art, 1962-1963
  • Drake University, Sculpture , 1978-1981 M.F.A.