Certain Circles was included in a solo exhibition at Allan Stone Gallery in 1962, the first to debut some of Langlais’s more representational wood reliefs. In a review of the exhibition, artist Donald Judd compared the works on view to folk art and crafts, an assessment that was meant to be pejorative and has continued to be attached to Langlais’s later works in wood. However, Langlais took an interest in American folk artists for their independence from the art establishment and their characteristic, simplified figuration. He spoke of “trying to be as simple, even childlike as possible” in his work, and was concerned with suggestive or symbolic forms, rather than realism. His bold image of a bull may bring to mind the stylized cave paintings of Lascaux, or the icon of a booming financial market.
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