Born in Wyoming, Forakis received his BFA from the California School of Fine Art (later known as the San Francisco Art Institute). Forakis moved to New York City where he was a founding member of Park Place Gallery, along with nine other artists including Mark di Suvero. Forakis taught at several schools and universities, but most notably he taught at Windham College in Vermont with his fellow sculptor and friend, Charles Ginnever. His works are in major museum collections. Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation worked with the artist to install major pieces in Healdsburg, California along the Foss Creek Trail and in Petaluma where Forakis had his studio in his later life. Forakis died in 2009.
Peter Forakis is considered to be one of the forerunners of the 1960s avant-garde movement that used geometric concepts in the visual arts. Although he began as a painter, his paintings became sculpture. His work quickly evolved in a 3-dimensional direction, with a seminal series of “3D paintings” (1959-62) consisting of brightly painted abstract constructions made from mostly found timber which literally “came off the wall.” Sadly, few of these works remain.
Forakis became fascinated by geometry and his focus became sculptural. San Francisco Chronicle Art Critic Kenneth Baker credits Forakis as the “originator of geometry-based sculpture from the 60s”. In an article by Joanne Dickson titled Profile: Peter Forakis in the Winter 1981 edition of Ocular Magazine, Forakis said, “Geometry … is a natural law that exists not only in my thinking and my blood, bones, and marrow, but in the universe and all its matter.”
Forakis embarked on his lifelong exploration of the cube and hypercube along with four-dimensional theories. Since the late 1950s Forakis was a prolific producer of sculpture based on geometric shapes such as cubes, spheres, octahedrons and rhomboids.
Blue Qube is part of The Strides-series. The Strides-series was an evolution. Years after Forakis "discovered" the tetrahedron inside the cube – which was itself the result of connecting the diagonals – he began bisecting each of the 6 squares of a cube. The stride began life as one-half of the 6 lines necessary to describe a tetrahedron. "Blue Qube" is from this period when he was "pulling apart" the cube and tetrahedron in Kentucky in the early 80s. Blue Qube replaced Millennium Mobius which was in the first year of The Spirit of the Man exhibition.
Foundation Curator Debra Lehane: "I don’t remember when Al and Peter first met face to face. The Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation was curating its first group of sculptures for the Foss Creek Pathway in Healdsburg. I had met Peter through a project that I had done with the City of Santa Rosa so when we needed a big sculpture I went to see him. He told me of a piece hidden in the bushes at Mark di Suvero’s studio. It was there I found Big Joe, in two pieces and it was this project that brought Al and Peter together. We needed to figure out how to fit the top to the bottom and install the work. Al loved Peter’s geometry and use of hard edged steel and Peter loved having someone to talk to that understood and appreciated his art. Over the years, Al and Judy came to Peter’s assistance many times. Dubull Eagull, one of Peter’s slotted pieces was installed in Petaluma at Lakeville and Washington by the Art Center and Visitor’s Bureau. Al and Judy also collected Peter’s work. One piece in their collection is Double Donuts – two red Mobius strips that lean against each other and mirror each other."
Peter died on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009, but there was no way we could mount this exhibition without his presence. Millennium Mobius exhibited in 2012 is a single larger version of Double Donuts at the Voigt Ranch. It was made for the Millennium and exhibited in an exhibition in Portland, Maine. Peter could not afford to ship the work home so The Spirit of the Man exhibition afforded us the opportunity to help Peter one more time and bring his work back to California. If Peter was here, his critique of Millennium Mobius would be “it’s a beaut!