Frank Gallo (1933 – 2019) has worked primarily from the human form. The sculptor was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1933 and from 1960, was a professor of sculpture at the University of Illinois. He studied art from 1951 to 1959 at the University of Toledo, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and the State University of Iowa.
In the late 1950s, he began to use the material polyester resin reinforced with fiberglass that gives his sculpture a viscous finish. Although he is noted for his studies of women, some of whom are fancifully and colorfully clad, Gallo has also made sculptures of men, including Abraham Lincoln.
Often distorting his life-like figures Gallo has commented, “I’m obsessed with the female figure. I get static from some women – you know, women’s lib- who say that I capitalize on them. But that’s not fair. What I express in these pieces is worship, not exploitation. I’m interested in the beauty of the female figure, and I’m trying to express it, the way I feel it.”
In Girl on a Couch, we see the exaggerated breasts and the soft mounds of the stomach area that are repeated in the soft billowy cushions of the couch. The couch itself becomes feminine and is almost as provocative as the woman. Gallo’s use of epoxy resin signals the use of new, modern materials and is a fitting medium because it enhances the life-like, tactile quality of the figure and places her directly into the viewer’s space.
His work is often mildly erotic, with elongated figures that may sit or recline in postures suggesting extremes of boredom or self-involvement. Frank Gallo has also made lithographs, using the same thematic material. Examples of his work are in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Art Museum.