Crest of the Wave

George McGoff

American (1927-2011)
Crest of the Wave, c.2011
Painted wood and steel, 3 x 9.5 x 10 ft.

Former designer and art teacher for Wellesley High School, George McGoff traveled extensively, composing two-dimensional works through his camera lens. In 2002, he began creating large environmental sculptures in wood, like Crest of the Wave, displayed on the museum’s grounds. The sculpture echoes the museum’s roofline, designed to celebrate the oceanfront community of the South Shore, Massachusetts.

McGoff’s style transforms straight lines into curved shapes, resulting in a visual effect called hyperbolic paraboloid, a geometric term used to describe multiple planes creating a “saddle-like” surface. He used red cedar and mahogany to create his large three-dimensional sculptures, and also designed mobiles and toys.

Trained as an industrial designer, after serving in the United States Navy, McGoff studied at the Massachusetts College of Art in 1951, and began working at drafting and illustration for Albert & J.M. Anderson Manufacturing Company in Boston, Massachusetts. He then designed clocks and watches for Westclox and the Elgin National Watch Company. Later he became a senior industrial designer for the Telechron Clock Division for General Electric, designing clocks and timers. He expanded to designing men’s jewelry and eventually moved to New York.

In 1958, he returned to the Boston area and worked freelance designing the offices and waiting room of the Plymouth Brockton Railway and then as an exhibit designer for Mass Bay College, Boston. McGoff transitioned to teaching art for Wellesley Public Schools and earned his Master of Fine Arts from Boston University. He was invited to exhibit his sculptures at the Art Complex Museum in 2002, and Crest of the Wave was given to the museum by the artist’s wife, Robin McGoff, in memory of her husband.