Michael Bolus was born in South Africa in 1934. He studied at St Martin’s School of Art from 1958 to 1962, under the tutelage of Anthony Caro, where he worked initially in stone but soon came to favour the aluminium and steel materials that would characterise his work of the 1960s.
Bolus was a key figure within the experimental New Generation of the 1960s whose innovative exploration of form, material and colour sought to rid sculpture of its traditional practice. For the landmark New Generation show of 1965 held at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, Bolus exhibited a series of abstract sculptures which were cut out of sheet aluminium and placed flat on the ground. Bolus’s work of the period was chiefly concerned with notions of balance and the extension of form – effects that were heightened by their vibrant polychromatic colours.
The unusual tilt or positioning of many of his works expanded the possibilities of what sculpture was understood to be. Bolus has spoken of his desire for his sculptures to ‘make themselves’; to invoke in the viewer the feeling that they are objects that they have stumbled across. With their radical simplification of form, Bolus’s works provoke a quiet play of oppositions between straight and curved lines, and presence and absence, as gaps creates voids within the solids of the structure.
His work is in the collections of the Tate as well as several foreign collections including the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia.