FULL COUNT life size bronze - Four figures
Since 1980, I have been working on the theme of baseball, focusing on the primary actors in this great American drama. Full Count represents the quintessential moment in the game of baseball when any- thing is possible. As the pitcher contemplates what pitch he will throw to home plate, 60 feet 6 inches away, he reveals to the batter little of his intent, while the umpire acts as judge in this ancient rite. It is a classic duel set in a precise field of play.
It took eight years for the life-size group to be made in bronze. First with drawings, then small wax and ABS models, and finally as cast bronzes, I have explored this contest and how the placement of figural shapes can articulate this confrontation in space. Full Count has traveled to museums and embassies to the north lawn of the Federal Reserve Bank.
In defining this moment in the game, I have been inspired by the paintings of Thomas Eakins’s Civil War baseball players, Andy Warhol's icons of Tom Seaver, and countless 19th- century folk works. But it is in the study of the great masters, such as Pre-Columbian sculptures of ball players, Pablo Picasso's bullfighters, and Degas' jockeys that one understands the games we play define who we are as a people. Within the arena of sport and contest, some of the most difficult social issues of our day can be played out. African Americans and women increasingly gained the right to express themselves in non- traditional ways, forming leagues of their own when traditional leagues were exclusionary or depleted of men sent overseas during the Second World War. Today, baseball is still the lens through which Americans see themselves and debate controversial issues. The game continues to challenge athletes to consider their responsibilities as figures in the public realm. In many respects, baseball is a perfect cru- cible for our national self- definition. -John Dreyfuss