A student of Buddhism in its many forms, Arlene Shechet for many years chose the figure of the Buddha as her starting point for sculptures. The Buddha was a human being, of course, but this figurative form has also been expanded into an architectural form (as the stupa) and a decorative form (as a vase). So the form of the Buddha can be seen as a container but also a blank screen to project upon, a vehicle for communication and a focus of meditation. The bodies of Shechet’s Buddhas are made from a synthetic plaster, allowing her to experiment with its form, exploring its making and disappearing, the points at which it is and is not a “Buddha.” On this base she hangs skins of acrylic paint, bringing color and additional textures to the sculpture, appearing to be in a constant state of transformation.


  • Title: Elemental Buddha
  • Creator: Arlene Shechet
  • Date Created: 1997
  • Physical Dimensions: 13 x 16 x 8 in | 33 x 40.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Contributor: Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
  • Medium: Hydrocal plaster, acrylic paint skins

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