Tom Sayre

(American, b. 1950)

Contemplation, 1976

Painted Corten Steel;
8 ft. 3 in. x 24 ft. x 11 ft. 

September 2022 – Ongoing  

The sculptor Tom Sayre has contributed to the development of contemporary art in Texas and public art in the United States. His large-scale sculptures can be found throughout the Texas landscape. Contemplation is an experimentation with form, scale, and space. Sayre’s interests in simplified form originates in the Constructivist movement, an arts movement that began in Russia in the early 1900s. The movement sought to reflect a rapidly changing, modern industrial society and reject all decorative motifs. Later, in America, the aesthetics of the Constructivists would be repurposed into such movements as Minimalism and would inspire the popular mid-century modern styles.

For Contemplation, Sayre explores how to balance large volumetric forms with the space they live in. Using straight-cut steel plates and cylinders welded together, Sayre’s sculpture seeks to evoke movement while remaining still, and to appear light despite its own heavy materials. The sculpture is made from raw Corten steel, primarily an outdoor material that, when weathered, slowly obtains a rustic antiquated look. However, Sayre has thoroughly painted the steel in order to eliminate texture and changes in color. In this he creates a reliability of color and texture that allows the viewer to focus solely on the forms and their relationship to each other as well as to the sculpture’s relationship to its environment. The choice of solid black paint highlights the forms themselves, while also lending the sense of a perpetual shadow.

Sayre is one of twenty-seven large-scale sculptors whose work resides in the Liberty Hill International Sculpture Park in Liberty Hill, Texas. The historic art event began in 1976 as the Southwest’s first International Sculpture Symposium. With the original symposium in Europe, artists from Japan, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, and the United States participated in the event, with local Texas residents supplying all of the artists’ room, board, and materials, resulting in a community-wide art project.

Tom Sayre received a BA from Missouri State University and an MFA in sculpture from University of Oklahoma. Sayre has exhibited throughout Texas and the United States.


University of Houston, Victoria