Neil Noland

Sculptor Was 86

    Neil Noland, a sculptor and former Amagansett resident, died of cancer on Sept. 25 at the age of 86, at the Veterans Administration Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. For the past several years he had been living in Sarasota, near his son, Robin Bond Noland.

    Mr. Noland, one of five sons of Bessie and Harry Noland, was born in Asheville, N.C., on April 27, 1927. He attended Black Mountain College in Lake Eden, N.C., where the study of art was considered central to a liberal arts education, and served in the Navy before moving to Paris and Madrid for further study on the G.I. Bill.

    He moved in 1953 to New York City, living and working there until 1965, when he spent a year at Bennington College in Vermont as an assistant to the British sculptor Anthony Caro. Diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1966 and hospitalized for a year, he worked after his recovery for the painter Kenneth Noland, his older brother, at the painter’s studio in Vermont.

    From 1977 until the late 1990s, Neil Noland lived and worked on Oak Lane in Amagansett. During that time he was the workshop director of Sculpture Sites, on Roger Wilcox’s property nearby on Abraham’s Path, and a visiting artist at the University of Miami in Coral Gables.

    He received a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2002. His work has been exhibited at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, the University of North Carolina, and at Guild Hall Museum and the Fine Arts Gallery at Southampton College.

    Helen Harrison, director of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, wrote that his sculptures, primarily of clay but also in metal and fiberglass, often feature “corrugated surfaces enlivened with subtle coloration.” The critic Phyllis Braff, writing in The Star in 1984, said that “properties of both painting and sculpture are transcended” in his glazed ceramic reliefs, creating a fascinating hybrid.

    Mr. Noland himself considered his work “a melding of painterly concerns and sculpture. Factors of painting and sculpture can interchange: color areas can appear flat in the picture plane and then read as a physical presence defining shapes and form.”

    Stuart’s Seafood is across Oak Lane from Mr. Noland’s house, and Stuart Vorpahl often helped him with his sculpture. Once, said Mr. Vorpahl, they got a 10,000-gallon fuel tank from somewhere “and brought it over to Roger Wilcox’s yard, and he laid out the dimensions and I cut everything out in sections with my cut-torches.  We worked for weeks over there, welding it together.”

    In addition to his son, Mr. Noland leaves two grandchildren. His wife, the actress Sudie Bond, died in 1984. A memorial exhibition of his work is planned for 2015 at the Pollock-Krasner House in Springs.