A Life’s Work

Lorrie Goulet, The Cradle of Life, 1969. Limestone, 16 1/2 x 22 in. Collection of Elayne Goldhair.
Lorrie Goulet, The Cradle of Life, 1969. Limestone, 16 1/2 x 22 in. Collection of Elayne Goldhair.

“Carving stone or wood is the gradual removal of material to allow the shape contained in the block to appear,” writes sculptor Lorrie Goulet in a new thick catalogue, The Sculptures of Lorrie Goulet. The compilation covers sixty-six years of the artist’s output that has focused almost exclusively on the female form in stone (green serpentine, grey alabaster, pink granite, white Carrara marble, black Tennessee marble, granite, limestone) and wood (cedar, ebony, mahogany, olive, oak, walnut). Born in 1925, only five years after passage of the Nineteenth Amendment that granted women the right to vote, Goulet, who expressed an early interest in stone carving, was told by her mother and friends, Girls don’t carve. The admonition did not stop her but did permeate the larger context of her training and professional life. “The potency of my work,” she says, “came from a climate not conducive to my success.”

Lorrie Goulet in her Green Street Studio, 1955
Lorrie Goulet in her Green Street Studio, 1955
Lorrie Goulet, Ulysses, 1957. Granite, 14 x 18 in. Collection of Kirby Lane North Association.
Lorrie Goulet, Ulysses, 1957. Granite, 14 x 18 in. Collection of Kirby Lane North Association.

The book also contains Goulet’s five meditations on sculpture, including this excerpt from “The Song of Sculpture.”

Lost ancient sculptures

In broken temples found

A residue of old glories

Of what man has done

Or wished to do

It is a song

Rising from the ruins

Echoed in the crumbling temples

That man and time

Each vandal in his own way

Has made

Lorrie Goulet, Nessa, 1959. White Carrara mable, 13 x 13 in. Collection of the artist.
Lorrie Goulet, Nessa, 1959. White Carrara mable, 13 x 13 in. Collection of the artist.
Lorrie Goulet, Rosemarie, 1957. Carrara marble, 10 x 6 1/2 x 4 in. Collection of the artist.
Lorrie Goulet, Rosemarie, 1957. Carrara marble, 10 x 6 1/2 x 4 in. Collection of the artist.
Lorrie Goulet, Selkie, 1975. Grey Marble, 19 x 13 x 9 in. Private collection.
Lorrie Goulet, Selkie, 1975. Grey Marble, 19 x 13 x 9 in. Private collection.
Lorrie Goulet, Florentina, 1978. Green serpentine stone, 23 x 13 x 10 in. Private collection.
Lorrie Goulet, Florentina, 1978. Green serpentine stone, 23 x 13 x 10 in. Private collection.
Lorrie Goulet, October, 1978. Lignum vitae wood, 22 x 12 1/2 x 8 in. Private collection.
Lorrie Goulet, October, 1978. Lignum vitae wood, 22 x 12 1/2 x 8 in. Private collection.
X