"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Gyöngy Laky

What is considered waste and what is not, is both intriguing and problematic in a throwaway culture. I respond to resources presented by nature and the environment each year as growers trim and discard tree limbs. I often use branches from trees in my North Beach neighborhood. This work, titled Play by the Rules, addresses a different kind of waste. March 29, 2003, during the first week of the Iraq war, the San Francisco Chronicle published a photo of a family with three small children running from the fighting—so reminiscent of my own experience when, as a young child, I fled war ravaged Hungary with my two brothers and parents. Since 2003, much of my work touches on the tragic and wasteful war in Iraq. Dramatist Bertolt Brecht once said, 'Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer to shape it.' I have my hammer, my electric drill, my nails and my screws (strangely, called 'bullets for building') and my pieces of wood. With these I hope to make a small dent.

Detail from Play By The Rules

Gyöngy Laky is a San Francisco sculptor. She is a past recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Early in her career she was commissioned by the Federal Art-in-Architecture Program for a work in the Social Security Administration Building in Richmond, CA. She completed undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and is Professor Emerita from the University of California, Davis. In 1973 founded the internationally acclaimed Fiberworks, Center for the Textile Arts in Berkeley. Her work is in several permanent collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Smithsonian's Renwick Museum of American Art in Washington DC, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Contemporary Museum of Art in Hawaii, and others. She exhibits her work nationally and internationally.

Gyöngy Laky's one-person exhibition opens September 8, 2007 at Braunstein/Quay Gallery

She is one of a team of three who developed a comprehensive Arts Master Plan for the new state-of-the-art, 130 acre, Federal Food and Drug Administration campus being built in Maryland. In 2003 Telos Arts Publishing of U.K. published, 'Portfolio Series: Gyöngy Laky,' and the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, released her oral history that year. The Smithsonian Institution is currently assembling a collection of Laky's personal papers, photographs and documents at the Archives of American Art.

I support FUF because trees do so much to enhance our lives and to make a city environment more beautiful, more healthy and more livable. They also clean the air, foster more wildlife habitat and offer shade when needed. And, in my case, provide excellent art materials each year!

Gyöngy Laky

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"My lilac trees are old and tall; I cannot reach their bloom at all. They send their perfume over trees And roof and streets, to find the bees." - Lousie Driscoll