Argente: An Inteview with Dorsey Reading
Produced in very limited quantities, the Argente line is one of Paul Evans’ most expressive series. Dorsey Reading, Evans’ employee who worked in the studio for twenty-three years, discusses the series:
How did Argente come about? Can you explain the technique?
Actually it started by us getting involved in casting. We cast some ashtrays, studio pieces, just to play with the materials. Paul asked me if I knew how to weld aluminum, I said yes. A few weeks later he came to me with a sketch of what would become the P37, a stock piece for Directional. I took the sketch and we began experimenting with the materials. We used 1/8th inch sheets of aluminum. It would get marked out and he wanted the welds rough and quick. We applied a black ink with a foam brush, scratched different designs and welded sections. Argente was one of the fastest evolving techniques to come out of the studio.
How many Argente pieces did the studio create? For how long was the Argente line produced?
I don’t know an exact number but for every 100 pieces we produced for Directional, maybe five were Argente designs. We started making the Argente pieces in mid-1960s and made them through the 1970s. The Argente line was the most prolific early on, the bulk of the pieces were produced before 1970 but we would fulfill orders infrequently throughout the 1970s. The atmosphere of the 1960s was more about the designer, and that changed in the 1970s.
How was the Argente line marketed?
The Argente line was available through Directional and the studio as well. The studio is where we played with the design. We made one-of-a-kind sculptures, that was a lot of fun.
What was your favorite of the techniques to come out of Paul Evans Studio?
There were so many different techniques and designs. We were always experimenting and trying new things. People’s taste changed so we changed with it.