American, born Germany
1936, Hamburg, Germany
1970, New York City, New York
A pioneer in the use of nontraditional sculptural materials, Eva Hesse's latex and fiberglass sculptures are a direct trace of the process through which she made them. This is in contrast to much of the abstract sculpture made in the middle of the century, which was industrially produced in order to hide any visible evidence of its making.
Hesse's eccentric geometry is entirely abstract but nonetheless powerfully evocative of the body. Her synthetic materials allowed her to suggest organic tissue without directly representing it. These corporeal metaphors have sometimes led to autobiographical interpretations of her work, buoyed by her status as a "woman artist" prior to feminism and by her early death from a brain tumor. The sculptures themselves, however, refuse any one straightforward meaning.