Working from her studio in Todi, Italy, Beverly Pepper is a pioneer in creating monumental abstract works in cast iron, bronze, stainless steel and stone. Pepper was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1922 where she studied painting and industrial design at the Pratt Institute. After visiting Angkor Wat in 1960, the artist turned to sculpture.
In 1962 she was invited to use Italian steel factories to create sculpture for the Festival dei du mondi in Spoleto, Italy along with 10 other international artists. She was one of three Americans; the other two were well-established artists Alexander Calder and David Smith. Prior to this festival, she did not have experience with welding, so she apprenticed herself to an ironmonger. Thereafter, Pepper primarily sculpted in metal on a monumental scale, usually in her own well-equipped studio partly because she did not like delegating the actual work to fabricators.
Beverly Pepper’s two sculptures on display at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Longo Monolith and Horizontal Twist, are fabricated in COR-TEN steel and oxidized in Pepper’s characteristic red-brown finish. According to Marlborough Gallery, to achieve this finish, “she treats the surface of the works with acidic solutions in order to control the tone and texture of the oxidation process and to achieve a deep, rich surface coloration.”
Pepper has worked extensively with public sites creating numerous environmental works and sculptures in the United States, Europe and Asia. Her works can also be found in major museums throughout the world including Art Gallery of Ontario, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Museum in Washington, DC.