Since the 1970s, Richard Nonas (America, born 1936) has refined a distinctive and powerful vocabulary based on line—what he calls "lineal extenstion, a thrust into the world"—and the raw materials of wood, stone, and steel. Trained as a cultural anthropoligist, he spent the 1960s doing fieldwork in North and Central America, as well as teaching and writing, before realizing that he could better express his primary questions about our human perception of the world through visual art. The sculptures Nonas has made since then, whether small wall-based reliefs or large floor-based spans, are always abstract; indeed, far from representing something else, they operate with a formal agency of their own: they mark and measure a space in order to render it "place." "I want to make places," he explains. "Nature is space; we make it place—by names, by fences, by bounding it, by centering it. Place is symbolic space, emotional space....Place is the appropriation of space—space imbued with human meaning."