Boise State University
R.A. Bob Hoover
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
8ft, 4in, 2016
On April 2, 2016 Benjamin Victor had his monument to R.A. “Bob” Hoover inducted into the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in a dedication that included comments from Bob Hoover himself.
For most of the past century, Bob has given his heart and soul to America. He represents the very best in us, not only as the greatest pilot in the world, but as a true gentleman. He is the pilot that all pilots look up to. An annual award will be given in Bob’s Honor, the “Hoover Award.”
The sculpture shows Bob with his renowned straw hat in hand waving to the crowds as he has done for so many years. With exceptional detailing Ben was able to capture the essence of Bob’s impeccable character. Come to the gallery to see the original clay. See more at BSU Update: https://news.boisestate.edu/update/2016/04/12/ben-victor/
“The greatest stick-and-rudder pilot who ever lived.”General James 'Jimmy' Doolittle
Dr. Norman Borlaug
Nicknamed “The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives,” Dr. Norman Borlaug was a humble Iowa farmer made famous for his plant breeding experiments, most notably his creation of a drought-resistant, high-yield variety of wheat. In 1970 Dr. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work, which is credited for averting mass famine in Mexico and India, among other developing countries.
In 2012, Benjamin Victor won the honor of creating Dr. Borlaug in bronze for the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, making him the only living artist to have two sculptures represented in the prestigious exhibition. The finished sculpture is a feat of skill, work and design: Dr. Borlaug stands before a bushel of wheat, notebook in hand, shirtsleeves rolled up to reveal the sinewy forearms of a working man. An invisible wind bends the wheat stalks, the lines of which echo the creases of Dr. Borlaug’s pants and draw the viewer’s gaze up to his face. Dr. Borlaug stares into the future, a mixture of determination, optimism, and quiet pleasure in his expression.
This hybrid of workman and farmer, scientist and educator, is a man in his element — a man who once said: “When wheat is ripening properly, when the wind is blowing across the field, you can hear the beards of wheat rubbing together. They sound like the pine needles in a forest. It is a sweet, whispering music that once you hear, you never forget.” Come to the gallery to view the original clay.
Blue & Gold Star Veterans Families Memorial
6ft, 6in, 2015
Six years in the making, Jerry Paul spearheaded the effort to create a memorial for all families of servicemen and women. The monument was dedicated on September 9, 2015 in Kokomo, Indiana. The Blue Star Families is a national support network for those who have family members serving in the military. The Gold Star Families is a support network for those who have lost a family member during duty. The figures symbolize all types of family dynamics and the challenges they face on the home front while their loved ones are deployed.
Located at Darrough Chapel Park the monument includes a serviceman extending his hand to a man, woman and child. “Even though he is a marine, he represents all the branches,” explained Jerry Paul, the visionary behind the memorial. “The woman is the heartbeat of the family. She represents all women in the serviceman’s life. We need to remember, it’s not just those who serve. It’s those who support and sacrifice to protect our nation.”
“This is the highest honor to get to use my talent to honor the men and women who serve our country.” (Kokomo Tribune Sept. 9, 2015)Benjamin Victor
Roustabout Oil Worker
The Roustabout is part of the larger grouping of four adults and one child that comprise the Oilworker Monument, located in the historic Kern River Oil Field in California — the fifth largest oil field in the United States. The monument, which includes an authentic 40-foot-tall oil derrick cast with 25,000 pounds of bronze, was dedicated a century after thousands of workers flooded the region. They toiled in lakes of oil through 100-degree summers with no shade and, in some cases, no shoes. It has the distinction of being the tallest bronze monument in California.
“I can remember as a small boy my stepfather coming home soaked in oil because he worked on a drilling rig,” one man said at the monument’s dedication. “Before my mother let him in the house they had to wash him down with kerosene to get the oil off.”
The roustabout was first sculpted nude. Then Benjamin Victor sculpted the overlaying wrinkled, rumpled overalls using hand tools of his own creation. The larger-than-life working man is a tribute to romantic realism: The rough texture and fit of his clothing hints at the tough life these laborers faced, which is offset by his strong jawline and heroic stance. As his pose indicates, this is not a man broken by hard work.
(Incidentally, Victor was so taken with the roustabout’s nude form that before clothing him, he cast the figure as Abel, who is on view outside in front of the gallery holding in his left hand a lamb instead of rope.) Come to the gallery to view the original clay.
Cecil Harris left his studies at Northern State University to join the Navy in 1941. By the time World War II ended four years later, Harris had earned a reputation as the second highest Navy scoring ace, having shot down a total of 24 enemy planes without taking a single bullet. He also saved an entire squadron of 20 pilots by leading them through darkness and thick fog to safety. For his bravery and skill during WWII and later during the Korean War, Harris was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.
Yet at home, Harris was a humble man who, like many veterans, wrestled with posttraumatic stress disorder during a time when such diagnosis were formally unrecognized, let alone treated. His heroics largely went unacknowledged until friends and family began spreading stories of his wartime feats after his death in 1981. Together, members of his community raised funds to have this monument installed on the campus of his alma mater.
Harris’s likeness was sculpted from photos donated by his family. He stands defiant, with legs braced and eyes trained on the horizon. He’s wearing a uniform typical of a 1940s fighter pilot and minimal but accurate gear, including B-8 goggles, leather flight helmet and a yellow Mae West vest, an inflatable flotation device named after the buxom mid-century starlet. Yet subtle details, such as the delicate mapping of veins in his hands and the slight downward purse to his lips, hint at the vulnerability masked by his heroic pose, and the emotional struggle that Harris and many other veterans shouldered alone. Come to the gallery to view the original clay.
Rhode Island State Policeman
8ft 9in, 2010
It’s hard to find a symbol of greater Rhode Island pride than the state policeman. Since 1925, these honorable officers have been patrolling limited-access highways and rural areas underserved by local police agencies to fulfill their agency motto, “In the Service of the State.”
In concert with the 2010 opening of new state police headquarters, Benjamin Victor was commissioned by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts to create a monument to the state troopers.
Standing at attention with his arms at his sides, the Rhode Island State Policeman is sculpted to complement the building’s clean lines and symmetry. Not only is his uniform accurate right down to the color of its bronze patina, history is carved into its details: the patch above his left breast is a nod to the organization’s founding year while the buttons on his coat include Rhode Island anchors emblazoned with the word “hope.” The patch on his left shoulder even features a detailed, hand-carved replica of the state’s capitol building. Incidentally, this uniform is virtually unchanged from its inception and has won national law enforcement “best dressed” competitions (although it’s also reported that the boots are quite uncomfortable). Come to the gallery to view the original clay.
The Awakening Dawn
5ft 2in, 2013
Awakening Dawn, the woman with the sun in her hands and moon at her feet, was originally cast in miniature as the crowning piece in a collection of five neo-Renaissance style sculptures representing the changing seasons and the passage of time. Dakota Wesleyan University commissioned a full-scale version of Dawn for the lobby of the college’s health sciences building.
The figure is rising up on one foot, with the lines of her draping streaking up her frame to the statue’s focal point, the sun circle cradled in her outstretched palm. Behind her, an inconspicuous sliver of moon is cradled in the arch of one foot, completing this allegorical interpretation of the passage of time.
When resizing the piece, Benjamin Victor was able to measure and sculpt straight from a live model, which gives Dawn’s lines and curves a realistic richness, as opposed to seeing the female form sculpted with the technical perfection of an artist’s eye.
The drapery on Awakening Dawn was originally much thinner to display the sculpture’s form more fully (as seen in the photo) but at the request of the school, the drapery was re-sculpted in a more baroque style. A statue of the model with thinner drapery, titled Dawn and Dusk, received an Honorable Mention at the 2013 Art Renewal Center Salon, an annual international competition with 2,500 entries. Come to the gallery to view the original clay.
Samson the Mighty
6ft 6in, 2002
The Biblical story of Samson has the hallmarks of an epic redemption story: As one of God’s strongest warriors, the Nazarite was virtually unconquerable until he revealed the secret to his strength – his uncut hair – to his lover, who deceived him by cutting it off and turning him over to his enemies. Blinded and enslaved, Samson’s temper, ego and lust are replaced by humility and faith.
Fittingly, Samson the Mighty began as a physical study of musculature — his sharply defined muscles, their protrusions and inclusions are the essence of sculpture, whether figurative or abstract. Samson stands with legs slightly braced, weight shifted to one foot, great muscles tense as if for battle. His famous locks were painstakingly sculpted with a dental pick. Around his feet lie the ropes of his enslavement at the hands of the Philistines. His expression is severe. Follow the line of his gaze out the front door of the gallery and you’ll see the object of his scowl: There stands his beautiful lover, the traitorous Delilah, holding behind her head the bags of silver she traded for the secret to the hero’s strength. Come to the gallery to view the bronze versions of both Samson and Delilah as well as the original clay
5ft 9in, 2009
Much like the statue of Samson the Mighty, the sculpture of Joseph began as an idealization of the human form, as well as a study of anatomy. However, this work far surpasses Samson in its adherence to muscular and structural accuracy — each muscle was separately defined and sculpted, then critiqued by masters and refined, much like the sculptural equivalent of an écorché.
Once the unnamed form was perfected, Benjamin Victor envisioned in his taut lines the Biblical figure of Joseph, beloved son of Jacob who was sold into slavery in Egypt by his older brothers. As the story goes, Jacob’s brothers later come begging for grain during a great famine and do not recognize their brother, who is now a prominent Egyptian.
Joseph wears an Egyptian headdress called a nemes and the gathered shendyt skirt common among noblemen. He holds tight in his grip an Egyptian flail, or whip, and his furrowed brow and troubled gaze reveal the inner turmoil of a strong leader in crisis, as he struggles with whether to reveal himself and seek revenge on his deceitful brothers or forgive them. Come to the gallery to view the bronze and the original clay.
To view more works by Benjamin Victor see benvictor.com