Sculptor William Lasansky’s home and studio are right where you might expect them to be on Vinalhaven: perched on the edge of a quarry, up the street from a cemetery full of carved monuments and a stone’s throw from the rocky shoreline. That he is an artist working with granite is no surprise. He has had a home on the island for many years, since coming with his family as a child. By his teens, he was fascinated with the craft of quarrying. He explored the island, observing the differences in granite, where it was located and how it was cut. He is a self-taught student of Vinalhaven granite history. Lasansky went on to become a teacher, and has just retired from the faculty of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania where he was a long-time professor of sculpture in the Department of Art and Art History.

One of the things he likes best about stone is the long relationship humans have had with stone. Lasansky appreciates not only the local tradition of stone quarrying and carving, but in other epochs and cultures as well. He refers to carved stone in Mexico, Peru, the Pacific Northwest, Britain, Italy and Egypt. Elements of those have a subtle influence in his work. But primarily what one sees in Lasansky’s sculpture is layers of story, of rocks given the means to reveal something. It is not only communicated through the visual. Like any good sculpture, his asks to be touched, and he welcomes that. Lasansky talks about how, in earlier societies, the manipulation of the environment was crucial to survival. People had to be tactile. He likes creating pieces that elicit and reconnect us with that instinct. His work combines his own sculpting with that of other forces acting on rock: time, weather, water and previous human interactions. Sometimes lichen still grows on them. Polished surfaces emerge and undulate, juxtaposed with areas rough or gouged. Lasansky describes conveying “a visually viable balance between untouched areas of primordial material and those areas the chisel consciously animates.”

Lasansky’s sculptures are powerfully evocative. They can be interpreted diversely as fragments of ancient temples or primitive altars, as artifacts of indigenous iconography, and as bold abstractions emphasizing line and form. His newest work will be on exhibit Aug. 5-30 at Elaine Crossman’s New Era Gallery, located on Vinalhaven’s Main Street. The opening reception is August 5, 4-7 PM. More information can be obtained at 207.863.9351 or