Family Portrait, 2000

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Family Portrait is a group of interconnected, black-painted wood and thorn figures, whose heads are tiny but functional boxes. Sengel is known for his sculptures that are familiar yet menacing, with black surfaces and natural thorns as integral parts of his pieces. Sengel sees the “prickliness” as characteristic of many family gatherings. He explains his motivation for Family Portrait:

“Leafing through an old family photo album and then seeing a batch of locust thorns that I had stuck into a piece of foam board led me to the idea of this piece. Despite the darker, ominous associations of black thorns, an element of whimsy was irrepressible here. I see this as portrait, caricature, silhouette. Ten years later it is still one of my favorites.”

Family Portrait
Artist Life
born 1951
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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