AU Press Releases

Sculptor William Underhill's 'Circle and Square' exhibition opens Friday at Cohen Gallery

Alfred University’s Cohen Galley will host “William Underhill: Circle and Square,” a survey of William Underhill’s cast bronze, iron and aluminum sculptures dating from 1960 to his current work. “Circle and Square” begins with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, and the exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will run through Aug. 4.

 Underhill, an emeritus faculty member of Alfred University’s School of Art and Design, is also the artist who created the statute of King Alfred located between Powell Campus Center and Herrick Library. During his tenure at Alfred University, from 1969 to 1997, he taught sculpture and established the first bronze foundry. His contributions helped to significantly expand the Division of Sculpture/Dimensional Studies in SOAD.

 “Circle and Square” highlights sculpture that demonstrates Underhill’s sophisticated use of geometry in his formal exploration of vessel and architectural form. His process for generating new sculpture relies heavily on drawing as he cuts and reassembles sketches, exploring new planes to discover new forms, searching for a tension found in the merger of opposites. The sketches become plasticine forms from which molds are taken before the piece is cast in wax, and finally, in metal.

 Underhill received his BFA from California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, and his MA in Sculpture from University of California, Berkeley. He studied under Peter Voulkos while at California College of Arts and Crafts, and the mentorship had a huge influence on his work. After receiving his degrees, Underhill went on to teach in New Mexico for one year, after which he and his family moved to the east coast. He worked in many art-related jobs, and in 1968 was invited to lead a workshop at Alfred as a visiting artist. This workshop eventually led to a permanent position in the School of Art and Design. 

 “Circle and Square” was curated by William Underhill and his friend and former student, Ed LeBow, with the assistance of Sharon McConnell’s ART 389 Exhibition Design class. The class visited Underhill’s studio, interviewed the artist, helped make final selections of the artwork, designed the exhibition layout, and finally installed and lit the show. Senior graphic design student, Courtney Ferrara, designed the catalog that accompanies this exhibition. Ferrara, with Judy Livingston’s ART 385 Independent Projects in Graphic Design studio course, designed the publicity material for this exhibition. 


Circle and Square will be on view at the Cohen Gallery, 55 North Main Street, Alfred, New York. Gallery hours through the close of the semester on May 8 are Tuesday through Friday 11am-5pm and Saturday 12-4pm. Summer Gallery hours will be abbreviated and more information can be found at: