Freda Koblick Abstract Sculptor Dies At 90

Koblick was the first to pioneer cast acrylic sculpture

Freda Koblick the pioneering Abstract sculptor who was one of the first to experiment with acrylic resin has died age 90. The San Francisco artist studied English and engineering at San Francisco State College in the late 1930s. It was upon finishing that she became interested in making art from what were then new materials, particularly plastics, which, as she told the San Francisco Chronicle a few years ago, appealed to her “fascination with transparency.” In 1939 she moved to Los Angeles, where she enrolled at the Plastics Industries Technical Institute. During the war in the 1940s she returned to San Francisco and made a living by producing small decorative items. Architects eventually commissioned her to make larger pieces such as fountains and wall sculptures and it was from this career point she delved into fine art. In later life she set up home in a 4,300-foot loft in the Mission District, carved from a former synagogue built in 1908. Her maternal grandfather, Zusya Faverman, was a member of the building committee and her uncles were bar-mitzvahed there before she was born.The ceilings were 20 feet high, the floor planks a honey-colored pine and the pair of arched windows, each topped by a Star of David, brought showers of southern light downstairs, in what used to be the synagogue’s social hall. Koblick had a ventilated studio workshop where she constructed her elegant, abstract acrylic sculptures. Allan Temko, the late Chronicle critic, praised for their “mythic grandeur” and “lyrical grace.”Even as a child,” she told the paper, “I had a kind of fascination with transparency. The fact that you could see through it and then if light came against it, you couldn’t see through it and it broke into color.” She was probably the first artist to work exclusively in acrylic. Bruce Beasley came later, but he worked in other media as well and says that few took her seriously at first. Plastics were disdained as an art medium and considered illegitimate, more appropriate to toilet seats or cooking utensils.

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