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Steve Tobin in his studio. Photograph by Kenneth Ek.

"If I can catch the viewer off guard with my presentation, the effect of the work may enter the subconscious before reason dissects it. By dramatically impacting or assaulting the viewer with the presentation I can throw him off balance and move his mind and emotions. For that fraction of a second the unreal becomes real. Once this door is opened it can never be closed."
-Steve Tobin

Quakertown artist Steve Tobin received international acclaim for his massive work, Trinity Root, installed at St. Paul's Chapel in Lower Manhattan, New York, in 2005. During the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the chapel had been partly shielded from damage by a 70-year-old sycamore tree. Tobin's bronze sculpture of the tree's stump and roots has attracted millions of visitors and is permanently sited on the corner of Wall Street and Broadway. In museum and gallery installations around the world, Tobin has exhibited work in metal,glass and other media-works he describes as "monuments to the meeting of science and art." Wondrous nature, order versus chaos, and cause and effect are central themes of his sculptures, enabling his works to resonate across a wide variety of audiences.

Tobin was first known for his glass work. However, he later began constructing epic sculpture using bronze, steel, and found objects. Specifically, he has evolved his most famous Roots into stylized and graceful linear elements. Tobin is also recognized internationally for his strong yet elegant interpretations of elements from the natural world. Tobin declares that the objective of his art is to redirect our attention back to the life of nature. Projects such as Earth Bronzes, Termite Hills, and Exploded Clay epitomize his fascination and success in capturing overlooked and hidden aspects of nature. Tobin furthermore incorporates his scientific insight into projects like Exploded Clay through his manipulation of explosives to haphazardly transform a solid block of clay into a fragmented, hollow form-a process and result that Tobin views as a microcosm of the natural world and universe.

Tobin has exhibited extensively in the United States, Canada, Finland, Switzerland, France, and Belgium. His works are in several permanent collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the White House, Grounds for Sculpture, the Phillip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, and the Museum of Art and Design in New York.

Tobin was recognized by the Michener Art Museum during the summer of 2014 in the exhibition entitled Out of this World: Works by Steve Tobin. His monumental Steelroots, Exploded Earth vessels, exploded glass Doors sculptures, and intricate Forest Floors bronzes were simultaneously displayed in the Museum's galleries and in the outside sculpture garden.

Steve Tobin in his studio. Photograph by Kenneth Ek.

Education & Community

Steve Tobin (b. 1957), <em>Earth Bronze</em>. Photograph by Kenneth Ek.

Education and Training
B.S. Mathematics, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, 1979
Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA, 1979
Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC, 1979

Influences and Teachers
Tobin's work is influenced by William Latina, Tobin's pottery teacher at Harrington High School in Rosemont, PA. He learned the art of glass-blowing from the ceramics professor, Gene Koss of Tulane University. However, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean pottery also influence Tobin's clay works.

Connection to Bucks County

At the age of eight, Tobin moved from Philadelphia to Villanova, Pennsylvania. In 1987, Tobin purchased a home and studio in Pleasant Valley, Bucks County, and, in 1994, he built a bronze foundry on the property. Today, a converted warehouse in Quakertown, Bucks County functions as Tobin's studio.

Artistic Community and Colleagues
Tobin assisted his colleague, the late American artist, Peter Voulkos, during a ceramics workshop at Tulane University in 1978. It was Voulkos who advised Tobin to return to clay as a medium in 1997. Additionally, Philip Berman, the Chairman of the Board of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, became a mentor in 1993.

Steve Tobin (b. 1957), Earth Bronze. Photograph by Kenneth Ek.


Exhibitions and Installations
Steve Tobin: Roots, Museum of Art-DeLand, DeLand FL, 2014
Out of This World: Works by Steve Tobin, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA, 2014
Roots On 7, Morrison Gallery, Kent, CT, 2013
Steve Tobin's Natural History, Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts, 2012
Aerial Roots, Installation, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ, 2012
Touching Earth and Sky, Installation, Minneapolis Landscape Arboretum, 2011
Steelroots, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY, 2010
Steelroots, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL, 2010
Steelroots, Installation, Chicago Morton Arboretum, Chicago, IL, 2010
Steelroots, Allentown Museum, Allentown, PA, 2010
Steelroots, Permanent Public Installation, Calgary, Canada, 2009
Steelroots, Public Installation, Chicago, IL, 2009
Steelroots, Solo Exhibition and Installation, Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, Miami, FL, 2008
Weeds in the Garden, Solo Installation, Fordhook Farms/Burpee Seed Gardens, Doylestown, PA, 2008
Steelroots, Solo Exhibition, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY, 2008
Retrospective of Permanent Collection, Group Exhibition, Opening of Museum of Art & Design, New York, NY, 2008
Steelroots, 40 Years of Public Art Anniversary, Solo Exhibition, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, 2007
Cocoons, Solo Installation, Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, PA, 2007
Steelroots, Solo Exhibition, Sculpture Site Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 2007
Shattering Glass: New Perspectives, Group Exhibition, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY, 2007
Earth Bronzes, Spring/Summer 2005 Exhibitions, Group Exhibition, Grounds for Sculpture, Trenton, NJ, 2005-2007
Steve Tobin Paintings, Solo Exhibition, OK Harris Gallery, New York, NY, 2006
Exploded Earth, Solo Exhibition, American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, CA, 2006
Steelroots, Solo Exhibition, Kouros Sculpture Center, Ridgefield, CT, 2006
Trinity Root, 9/11 Memorial, Permanent Installation, Wall Street & Broadway, New York, NY, 2005
Steve Tobin Paintings, Solo Exhibition, The Banana Factory, Bethlehem, PA, 2005
Earth Bronzes and New Nature, Solo Exhibition, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, ME, 2005
El Bosque (The Forest), Traveling Exhibition, Federico Silva Sculpture Museum Park, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 2005
Roots, Solo Installation, Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, MO, 2004
Roots, Solo Installation, Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL, 2004
Lantern House, Solo Exhibition, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME, 2003
Earth Bronzes, Solo Exhibition, College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME, 2003
Earth Bronzes, Permanent Installation, Florida International University, Miami, FL, 2003
Tobin Naked Earth, Solo Exhibition, George C. Page Museum, La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles, CA, 2002-2003
Tobin Naked Earth, Solo Exhibition, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Los Angeles, CA, 2002-2003
Lantern House, Solo Exhibition, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, 2002
Earth Bronzes, Solo Exhibition, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 2001-2003
Earth Bronze Trilogy-Part I, Solo Exhibition, Buschlen-Mowatt Gallery, Vancouver, Canada, 2001
Earth Bronzes, Solo Exhibition, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, 2000-2001
African Termite Mounds, Solo Installation, Montefiore Park, West Harlem, NY, 2000-2001
Cocoons, Solo Exhibition, Corning Museum of Glass, Sculpture Gallery, Corning, NY, 1999-2001
Roots, Group Exhibition, Vancouver International Sculpture Project, Vancouver, Canada, 2000
Exploded Clay with Glass Riverbed, Group Exhibition, Americans in Venice Exhibition, American Craft Museum, New York, NY, 2000
Cocoons, Solo Exhibition, Corning Museum of Glass, Sculpture Gallery, Corning, NY, 1999
Earth Bronzes, Solo Exhibition, Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA, 1998
Earth Bronzes, Solo Exhibition, OK Harris Gallery, New York, NY, 1998
Earth Bronzes, Solo Exhibition, Art Et Industries Gallery, New York, NY, 1998
Broadway River, Solo Exhibition, New York University, Broadway Windows, New York, NY, 1997
Matzoh House, Solo Exhibition, Gallery B.A.I., New York, NY, 1996
Steve Tobin: Reconstructions, Solo Exhibition, Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, Urinus College, Collegeville, PA, 1995
Steve Tobin: Reconstructions, Solo Exhibition, Peyton Wright Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, 1995
Bentley Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Scottsdale, AZ, 1995
Steve Tobin, Solo Exhibition, Sanske Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland, 1990, 1994
Habatat Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Boca Raton, FL, 1991, 1992, 1994
Waterworks, Group Exhibition, Palm Beach Community Museum, Palm Beach, FL, 1994
Allene Lapides Gallery, Group Exhibition, Santa Fe, NM, 1994
Robert Morris Gallery, Group Exhibition, New York, NY, 1994
Steve Tobin at Retretti, Solo Exhibition, Retretti Art Center, Punkaharju, Finland, 1993
Glass Installations, Group Exhibition, American Craft Museum, New York, NY, 1993
From Our Vault, Group Exhibition, Wustum Museum, Racine, Wisconsin, 1993
Glass America, Group Exhibition, Heller Gallery, New York, NY, 1989-1993
Carpe Diem Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Paris, France, 1992
Steve Tobin, Transformations: Three Installations in Glass, Solo Exhibition, Lehigh University, Wilson and Hall Gallery, Bethlehem, PA, 1992
Le Verre, Group Exhibition, Lespace Duchamp Villion, Rouen, France, 1991
Cocoons, Solo Exhibition, Judy Youens Gallery, Houston, TX, 1990
Glass Doesnt Grow in the Forest, Group Exhibition, St. Augustine Chapel, Belgium, 1990
Cocoons, Solo Exhibition, Holsten Gallery, Palm Beach, FL, 1989
Steve Tobin: The Glass Garden, Solo Exhibition, Moore College of Art and Design, Levy Gallery for the Arts, Philadelphia, PA, 1988
Dream Glass, Solo Exhibition, Axis Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 1987
Glass for Tea Ceremony, Solo Exhibition, Tazawa Gallery, Kyoto, Japan, 1987
Wheaton Ware, Solo Exhibition, LaVaggi Gallery, New York, NY, 1986
Glasscapes, Solo Exhibition, Glass Gallery, New York, NY, 1986
New American Glass Focus 2, Group Exhibition, Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV, 1986
David Bernstein Gallery, Solo Exhibition, Boston, MA, 1985
Manhattan Bowls, Solo Exhibition, Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, 1985
Southern Glass, Group Exhibition, Roanoke Museum of Fine Arts, Roanoke, VA, 1983
Gallery 10, Solo Exhibition, New York, NY, 1982
Glasscapes, Solo Exhibition, Spring Street Enamels Gallery, New York, NY, 1980
Glass Portraits, Solo Exhibition, Hanson Gallery, New Orleans, LA, 1980
Sculptured Glass, Solo Exhibition, Bienville Gallery, New Orleans, LA, 1979
Louisiana Glass, Group Exhibition, Alexandria Museum, Alexandria, LA, 1979

State Museum, Harrisburg, PA
Gratz College, Philadelphia, PA
Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA
American Glass Museum, Millville, NJ
Ground for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey
Coca-Cola Corporation, Atlanta, GA
Stephane Janssen Collection, Santa Fe, NM
Lowe Art Museum, Miami, FL
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Muse des Arts Decoratifs, Lausanne, Switzerland
Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY
The White House, Washington, D.C.
King Faisal's Palace, Saudi Arabia
America Center, Helsinki, Finland Retretti Museum, Savonlinna, Finland

Awards & Appointments

Steve Tobin (b. 1957), <em>Doors</em>, 1992-1993. Cast and exploded glass.

Teaching and Professional Appointments
Teaching Assistant, Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA, 1982
Teaching Assistant, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC, 1982
Teacher, New York Experimental Glass Workshop, Brooklyn, NY, 1982
Teacher, Colorado Mountain College, Glenwood Springs, CO, 1982
Teacher, Tokyo Glass Art Institute, Tokyo, Japan, 1985-1986

Steve Tobin (b. 1957), Doors, 1992-1993. Cast and exploded glass.

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