November 7, 2013
Richmond Center for Visual Arts
Having grown up in rural Louisiana in the 50s and one of 11 children to sharecropper parents, and where ever financial obligations had to be generated from that farm, it was essential that every child developed hand and eye coordination skills as quickly as possible. Al LaVergne learned to repair tools and equipment and, when necessary, invent them to get the job done.
LaVergne's first exposure to metal work came when he accompanied his father to the local blacksmith to have tools and equipment sharpened. Although, at the time he was unaware how this would eventually impact his future as a sculptor. LaVergne remembered being mesmerized by that process.
Those survival skills and abilities benefited LaVergne greatly recently when he spent ten months in Nigeria, Africa on a Fulbright Grant. He was challenged to fabricate a 14 foot steel sculpture with severely limited resources. LaVergne's public lecture will touch on the Fulbright experience and works being fabricated for his exhibition at the Richmond Center's Kerr Gallery.