About

After 35 years teaching chemistry and geology I seized the opportunity to devote my time and energy to sculpture which was put on the back burner while I pursued making a living and raising a family.   I’m not really comfortable talking of an artistic vision or a philosophy. Never having a formal artistic education has left me bereft of one. Probably because of my chemistry background I am particularly interested in the nature of materials:  the texture of the surfaces, their strength, formability, durability. I’m particularly intrigued by shapes, angles and the effect of light on surfaces.  I like to experiment with different material formulations and applications (which don’t always unfortunately pan out).  I’m fortunate to have fallen into a confederation of comrades called GroupW, who share enthusiasm and work space generously provided by the tolerant souls at East Coast Refinishing in Pittsfield. 

 

The masks that I’ve created were some of my earliest creations and were molded from paper mâche, concrete and foam.  I used concrete for the masks exposed to the elements not only because of its durability but also because of the various colors and textures that can be imparted to it.  The theatrical masks I constructed primarily of wire and styrofoam with and an acrylic coating to make a lightweight mask that the performers in the musical (“Sea of Nod”) could wear moving about the stage while singing and dancing.

 

My reliefs have allowed me to investigate three dimensions but in a form that makes sculpture more practical in the average living room. I like the shadows cast by the reliefs as they hang on the wall.   My reliefs are geometric, symbolic and abstract based on tectonic themes from geology. Some are in high relief and others low. Again in these reliefs I’ve used a variety of materials (steel, concrete, masonite and acrylics).

 

 The gargoyle was one of my more intricate creations which really got me into welding. It required a great deal of engineering to insure durability for installation on his perch above the entrance to East Coast Refinishing.  It is composed of a welded steel-wire frame covered by a thin concrete shell with reinforcing fibers which in turn was covered by a polyester coating. The polyester required a great deal of sanding in-order to achieve the final high gloss metallic surface.

 

The tables were a fall out from working at East Coast Refinishing where a metal fabrication business, Powers Industry that specializes in building enormous security (guard) towers is also located.  The owner and employees prove a ready source of expertise for metal working and fabrication.  Some of the towers they build have striking geometric designs that I thought might be incorporated into a table.  When I taught geology I always had a beautiful sample of a type of stone called a conglomerate.  The kids were never as enthralled as I by the rock but I told the kids some day it would make a great table top. The combination of a steel frame and a very heavy stone top were made for each other.

© 2014 Bill Tobin