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Steve Tobin

Sculptor
Born February 10, 1957, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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.

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 his epic sculpture using bronze, steel, and found objects. Specifically, he has evolved his most famous Roots to 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 such as Exploded Clay through his manipulation of explosives to haphazardly transform a solid block of clay into a fragmented, hollow form- a process and result which 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 will be recognized by the James A. Michener Art Museum during the summer of 2014 in an exhibition titled Out of this World: Works by Steve Tobin, in which his monumental Steelroots, Exploded Earth vessels, his Doors exploded glass sculptures and intricate Forest Floors bronzes from the Earth Bronzes series will be simultaneously displayed in the Museum's galleries and in the outside sculpture garden.

Image: Steve Tobin in his studio. Photograph by Kenneth Ek.


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