On a bright morning when the hills are iced and bare, Dai Ban stands in his Great Barrington studio, tracing the shape of an abstract sculpture. He cuts his angles freehand out of foam core and seals them in Venetian plaster as smooth as an eggshell, as in Gatekeeper’s Aggression, which appeared in the 2018 SculptureNow exhibit on the grounds of the Mount and is now found on the grounds of his home. He forms the shapes without planning. “If I start figuring out I should put this piece there, thinking about the composition, then what comes feels fake.”
He works quickly and reaches for color intuitively—pure white, occasionally tints of grey or black, rose and gold. This way of working has come to him recently. Ban moved away from sculpture for ten years, and then, gradually, was called back to these spare forms. They seem as substantial as stone, says Michael D. Andelman, who will include Ban’s work in a show at the Geoffrey Young Gallery in April. He has seen this work at the Mount catch the light at different times of day and reveal its bone structure and shadows like a monolith.