Essay on Tobin: Sculpture and Naples Art Museum

Submitted By seagler27
Words: 1080
Pages: 5

We here in Southwest Florida are very lucky to have such an abundance of art available for our viewing pleasure. I had the opportunity to view some of the worlds finest artwork at the Naples Art Museum this past weekend on Sunday, October 25, 2011. I had passed by the museum several times when going to the Philharmonic but had never been in. I was amazed to see that there was three floors of work from artists such as French Impressionist painter Degas and Post-Impressionist Tulouse-Lautrec to the controversial Mexican artist Diego Rivera. However the work that really caught my eye was on the first floor in several different rooms. It was the work of sculptural artist Steve Tobin. There was one work in particular that I continued to return to and couldn’t help but stare at with wonder. It was a from a series called Doors . The one semi translucent, glowing kaleidascope that I admired was also called Door and was created in 1992. The sculpture sat approximately 5 feet tall and was created from cast glass. It sat upon a white, wooden pedestal that made it seem a bit taller.
The glass sculpture Door by Steve Tobin used a very simplistic shape and form. The work consisted of transparent, earthy and cool colors. The texture of the object was rough around the edges growing smoother towards the middle of the form. This leads me to believe that when Tobin created this piece of art he was creating a sculpture that would fit into the natural world around him. It was as if he plucked this rock from the bottom of a cave and put it on display.
On display at the Art Museum this piece would be described as a full-round sculpture however it is placed against a wall so that strategically place lighting could display all of the colors inside the piece. While it was backed to the wall I was still able to get a good view of the back which showed how the piece was constructed. It appears that the artist cast his work in what appeared to be sand or some sort of soil. When using the process of substitution the artist poured the liquid glass into the soil mold. Once the glass hardened and was removed, he left pieces of the casing on the sculpture. This gave it that rough and jagged, rock-like effect.
The artist chose to use colors such as greens, blues and purples in contrast with a dusty brown outer edge. These colors seemed as though they were chosen to invoke a sense of crisp, dank air found in an underground region. Much like the original place he would have placed this piece for exhibition. The cool colors seemed to float in swirling waves through a sea of colorless, liquid like glass. The fluid movement of the swirls drew the eye inward towards a large blob of green glass in the middle of the structure. The color and movement of the piece gave a sort of calming feeling that continued to draw the eye inward. The filmy brown outer edges of the piece worked as the perfect picture frame to keep the viewers interest on what was happening in the center.
As other patrons would walk by and view the piece it was interesting to hear them compare the eddy of colors to everyday objects. One woman described it as two birds flying to their green nest. Another viewer compared it to an underwater portal to another world. Tobin had created a harmonious combination of line and form that kept the viewers eye moving throughout this closed sculpture. He had also created a center focal point, the green ball of glass in the middle that kept his audience interested.
This sculpture appealed to many of the senses as I continued to study it. The look of the outer edge and back was very rough where the casing had left its pocked and craggy marks. I imagined that if I were to touch the jagged edges, dust and sand would have fallen from this piece. However as much as there was a roughness to it, there was also an icy smoothness to it as…