George Tobolowsky (American, b. 1949) "My Signature Piece," 2009.
Welded steel with lacquer. 79 x 112 x 55 inches.
August 17, 2010 (TYLER, TX) – Discarded steel and scrap metal are reborn in the exhibition Substance & Form: The Art of George Tobolowsky, on view at the Tyler Museum of Art September 5 through November 28, 2010 in the Museum’s Bell Gallery. Texas sculptor George Tobolowsky is known for his dynamic repurposing of discarded metal pieces into energetic and compelling large-scale sculpture. Works weighing up to 3,000 pounds will be placed in and around the TMA, both inside the gallery and outside on the grounds. This exhibition was organized by Grace Museum, Abilene. The final selection of works to appear at TMA will vary from those shown in Abilene. Collectors’ Circle sponsors are Betty and Dick Summers.
A Dallas native, George Tobolowsky earned business and law degrees from Southern Methodist University in the early 1970s. While there, he minored in sculpture and became life-long friends with his mentor, the renowned sculptor, James Surls. In the years following, Tobolowsky remained involved in the arts through personal collection and voluntary service to arts institutions, although his primary focus was on his corporate career. It wasn’t until 2006 that the distinguished businessman and attorney had his first solo exhibition at the Gerald Peters Gallery in Dallas. His work immediately captured the interest of the art world, and in the months following the exhibition, Tobolowsky began shifting his focus to life as an artist, exhibiting his unique works and creating new sculpture from his Mountain Springs, Texas studio, which is situated on his ranch.
“Tobolowsky has earned recognition in the world of contemporary art because his works recall a long legacy of steel sculpture while maintaining a uniquely new quality,” says Kimberley Tomio, TMA Director. “He has been compared to sculptors like Julio González, Pablo Picasso, and David Smith, all pioneers of abstract sculpture. While his works recall the legacy of past artists, Tobolowsky forges his own way, composing pieces that connect with a 21st century viewer.” The artist’s corporate background certainly colors his work, with titles like The Auditors and The 600 lbs Deal Breaker suggesting a humorous context to each piece.
In order to find materials, Tobolowsky visits metal scrap yards where he routinely picks up 1,000 to 2,000 pounds worth of raw material from vast heaps of discarded steel. The materials come from a variety of sources including machine and heavy-duty fabrication shops. These industrial castoffs are to some degree familiar to anyone who has observed a working engine or a large machine of some kind. Fan blades, gears, and coiling metal strips are transformed by Tobolowsky, who uses the materials to create works that are both familiar and foreign. Rather than constructing something that is a sum of its parts, Tobolowsky redefines form and function by building three-dimensional abstractions, often suggesting anthropomorphic postures, and succeeds in elegantly proving that the sum is indeed more than the parts.
Substance & Form: The Art of George Tobolowsky will be presented free of charge at the Tyler Museum of Art. The exhibition opens to the public Sunday, September 5, 2010. The TMA is supported by its Members,
and the Tyler Junior College of Art. Tyler Museum
Events & Activities
Sunday, September 5: Form & Substance: The Art of George Tobolowsky opens to the public. Organized by Grace Museum, Abilene. Collectors’ Circle Sponsors are Betty and Dick Summers.
Monday, September 6: Last day for Blue Star Program. TMA will be open from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Labor Day. Active members of the U.S. military and their family members are invited to enjoy the Museum with no admission fees through Labor Day, 2010.
Saturday, September 11: Family Day, featuring Form & Substance: The Art of George Tobolowsky. Visitors will enjoy free art activities from 2–4 p.m. in the TMA Classroom.
Friday, October 8: Artist Reception & Gallery Talk. The public is invited to meet artist George Tobolowsky and listen as he discusses his works shown in the exhibition Form & Substance: The Art of George Tobolowsky. 5:30–7:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 28: Fall Lecture Series III with special guest, Jed Morse, Curator, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, who will deliver a lecture titled “Form & Substance: The Art of George Tobolowsky.” TMA Classroom, 5:30–7:00 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and free for TMA Members and children 12 and under.
Friday, November 5: First Friday Art Tour. This month’s free First Friday Art Tour will lead visitors through Form & Substance: the Art of George Tobolowsky. Tour begins at 11 a.m.
The Tyler Museum of Art, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. (The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.) Lunch is available in the Museum Café from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and the TMA Gift Shop is open during Museum hours. For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit www.tylermuseum.org.
Welded stainless steel with lacquer. 92 x 32 x 32 inches.