Malpass, the oldest child and namesake of sculptor Michael Malpass (1946–1991), immortalizes his father’s legacy in this beautifully illustrated, reverential tribute. The author traces his father’s artistic drive to his childhood in Yonkers, N.Y., in the late 1940s, through his education at Pratt Institute in New York City, to his time in the Vietnam War. The younger Malpass describes how his father infused his art with existential wonders at every stage in his career. The older Malpass was inspired by the sphere, which he called “the most perfect form,” and his best known sculptures are patchwork metal globes (up to five feet in diameter), which he welded together from metal scraps, creating what he dubbed “humdingers,” “an outstanding thing of its kind.” Whether finding spiritual connection in the spheres, whimsical joy in his “chicken men” sculptures, or authenticity and psychological depth in his collages and autobiographical drawings, the sculptor expressed his passions for life and family through the process of creating—which he did until his death at 44 from a heart attack when the author was a teenager. This beautifully crafted book offers an indelible portrait of a sensitive artist, his spirited psyche, and his diverse body of work; it is also a son’s loving homage.
“Humdinger” by Michael A. Malpass is a magnificent work of art itself; a fitting testimonial to the art and life of artist, sculptor Michael Allen Malpass, a New Jersey artist, whose work over a very short life, is enduring, and memorialized in this incredible tribute book compiled, and edited by his son Michael A. Malpass.