By Christopher Jones
3000-pound metal sculptures were placed in key positions around the Tyler Museum of Art last month to announce the opening of its newest exhibition.
Sept. 5 through Nov. 28, the Tyler Museum of Art will host the artwork of George Tobolowsky; a native Texan known for his abstract sculptures made entirely from discarded metal.
Tobolowsky uses anything from small gears to large twisted bands of excess metal that were scrapped from a machine shop.
Using his “dumpster diving,” as Tobolowsky puts it, all material found is taken to his studio. He then begins picking these found objects and welding them together. This is the process he uses to create these unique, twisted pieces of art.
“With my brother working in a scrap yard, I had unlimited access to scrap metal, allowing me to begin finding my ‘found objects,'” he said.
He stated in the video on his website, that he has “…always enjoyed three-dimensional art and likes the physical process of making his.” To take an object made for another purpose, that unfortunately was not up to some companies’ standards or just excess and making it into art is what makes his sculptures so interesting.
Tobolowsky’s life has taken as many twists and turns as his art. Earning both a business and law degree from Southern Methodist University and minoring in sculpture, it would be more than 30 years before Tobolowsky began turning his passion for sculpting into reality.
With a focus on his career, Tobolowsky still remained involved in the art scene; doing legal work for other artists and making contributions to galleries. He also kept in touch with his art teacher and friend from SMU, James Surls. Surls became his mentor and helped with questions and decisions Tobolowsky had about his art.
Tobolowsky built a sculpting studio on his ranch outside of Dallas for other artists to use and about seven years ago, he got back into collecting more scrap metal.
About five years ago, Tobolowsky made a few different pieces and entered them into a contest. Winning a place in an art contest, he was later picked up by a gallery and had his first exhibition at the Gerald Peters Gallery in Dallas.
Tobolowsky said that his inspiration comes from taking a ‘found object’ and having the ability to put it next to another piece and create a sculpture.
Some of his art is named after things in his life.
“I was still working in the business world when I started my sculpting and would have deals that wouldn’t work right or numbers that didn’t work,” Tobolowsky said. “These would be considered ‘deal breakers’. This led to my series called ‘Dealbreakers.'”
Some of his pieces begin with a name in mind but that may change after the piece is completed.
One piece he has named “March Into Hell…..For a Heavenly Cause,” was originally going to be called “No Good” due to a piece of the sculpture having the words “no good” written upon it.
“Once the piece was finished, it reminded me of Dante’s march into hell,” Tobolowsky said. “With shield in one hand and sword in the other, ready to battle Lucifer himself to save his true love. This just made me feel the need to give it that name.”
Another piece of art with a story behind its name is his ‘Signature piece.’
“People had always asked why I didn’t sign my work,” Tobolowsky said. “I had hoped people would be able to just look at my work and know who made it. I made ‘The Signature’ as a representation of what my long last name would look like if it was sort of scribbled out.”
“Although compared to past pioneers of abstract sculpture such as Julio Gonzalez and David Smith, Tobolowsky’s art seems to connect more with the 21st Century with his intriguing style and materials used,” said Kimberley Tomio, Tyler Meusem of Art Director.
An artist reception and gallery talk will be held on Friday, Oct. 8. The public is invited to meet Tobolowsky and listen as he discusses his work shown in the exhibition Form &
Photos by Christopher Jones
ARTSculptures Artist George Tobolowsky displays his art at the Tyler Museum of Art in Tyler Texas. His work will be displayed from Sept. 5 through Nov. 28.