Born in 1925 in New York City, Lorrie Goulet is known primarily for direct carving of predominantly female human figures in stone and wood. Rather than working from a preconceived model, the practice of direct carving allows the material to dictate the final form of the sculpture. Her work is part of the permanent collections of The Whitney, Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Academy of Design, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Corcoran Gallery, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, David Findlay Jr. Fine Art, the Kennedy Galleries in NYC, and the Harmon Meek Gallery in Naples (Florida).
Goulet’s fine art education began in 1932 at the age of seven, under Aimee Voorhees at the Inwood Pottery Studio. A pioneer teaching artist, Voorhees aimed “to help each student release and realize his creative ability through sincerity of work and purpose, and the cultivation of imagination, visualization, and fine craftsmanship”. During the years Goulet apprenticed with Voorhees, she participated in her first group exhibition at the New York Museum of Natural History in 1936.
About the Artists
In the autumn of 1943, Goulet enrolled in Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Meant as an alternative to existing higher education institutions, the one idea most commonly agreed upon at the college was that living and learning should intertwine. There, Goulet studied painting and drawing with Joseph Albers and weaving with Anni Albers. In the summer of 1944 she studied direct carving in stone and wood with José de Creeft. In November of the same year, Goulet and de Creeft got married.
José deCreeft, 40 years her senior, already enjoyed national and international recognition as one of the pioneers of the assemblage technique, although he experimented with a wide range of mediums. His most popular sculpture is Alice in Wonderland in Central Park, New York. Eventually, the family moved to New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood and purchased a house which they refurbished to include de Creefts’s studio. After de Creeft’s death in 1982, Goulet moved into the studio. Goulet’s daughter, Donna Maria de Creeft, went on to become an artist and educator working in New York City.
Goulet’s first solo exhibition occurred at the Clay Club Sculpture Center, New York, in 1948. In 1971 Kennedy Galleries in New York began presenting her work, and a regular stream of solo exhibitions continued through 1986. Since 1948, Goulet’s work has been included in group shows including the Annual Exhibitions of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors and Drawings at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Fine Arts pavilion of the New York World’s Fair in 1965. Goulet’s public commissions by the City of New York comprise a series of facades for public buildings in the Bronx, including the Branch Public Library at 173rd Street and Grand Concourse, (1958); Nurses School and Residence, Bronx Municipal Hospital (1961); and the 48th Precinct Police and Fire Station Headquarters, in stainless steel (1971).
Goulet combined her arts practice with teaching. Her first teaching position was under Victor D’Amico at the Museum of Modern Art’s People’s Art Center in 1957. From 1961 to 1975 she was on the faculty of The New School. Goulet’s teaching was featured in twenty-three program segments of the CBS Television show “Around the Corner" sponsored by the New York City Board of Education.
In 1981 Goulet started teaching at the Art Students League of New York where she remained until 2004. During her final semester, artist Carol Griffin was in her sculpture class and years later approached Goulet with the intent of becoming her apprentice. Griffin still apprentices with Goulet at her house and studio.
Carol Griffin now considers herself a New Yorker, having lived and worked in the city since 1989. Griffin studied at various institutions in New York City including The Art Students League, Pratt Institute, and the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, where she was the recipient of a Ramapo Trust Scholarship for the study of sculpture.
Since 2010, Griffin has been the sole apprentice of Ms. Goulet, who shares with Griffin the benefit of her 70+ years of experience in direct carving and drawing. This apprenticeship has proven to be a unique and invaluable influence on Griffin’s artistic development.
Griffin is inspired by natural forms: the human body, fresh produce, aquatic animals, and mathematical waves. Her carvings directly reflect these naturalistic objects. A recurrent theme in her work is the beauty of diversity in nature.
Griffin’s work has been included in several juried exhibitions in New York City, and she has also exhibited in Southampton and East Hampton, New York. Her work is included in private collections throughout the United States. Griffin is also represented by Harmon-Meek Galleries.