John Ahearn


acrylic on plaster
20 x 16 x 8 inches

Since the late 1970s, John Ahearn has cast plaster sculptures of his neighbors and communities he has visited, sharing the finished products with the public by placing many of them outside on neighborhood buildings and in cultural centers. Working with longtime collaborator Rigoberto Torres, Ahearn casts his subject’s likeness using alginate and plaster bandages placed over their face and upper chest to make a mold. The mold is used to produce painted plaster sculptures that capture a diversity of faces and personalities, visible here in the hairstyle, clothes, and youthful expression of Hazel. The relatively quick process allows Ahearn and Torres to produce the works as a community workshop, and the two have traveled internationally, casting sculptures of subjects in the South Bronx, Taiwan, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. His work is well represented in institutions across the US, including the Dallas Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.