Grounds For Sculpture | 18 Fairgrounds Road
The sculptures of Jonas Stirner are by an artist who has developed his own approach and methodology in the creation of sculpture that is at once powerful in its presence yet inviting to the viewer in its seductive use of texture and color. Jonas, exhibiting with his father Karl for the first time, also prefers to use raw steel and scrap iron in his works. Stirner reflects, “My father warned me early on that it’s a difficult proposition to be an artist. He never suggested it. I think he’s very satisfied that I chose to be an artist. We can share thoughts about what we do. He’s worked with me before. I go to his studio and we collect metal together. He pretty much stands back and lets me work and then critiques it.”
One of the main characteristics in Jonas’s approach to sculpture is represented in this grouping by the vertical or totemic presence of the compositions. These works also employ his acceptance of chance, both polished and raw surfaces, straight and raw edges, and an uncanny melding of disparate forms and shapes into works which defy description and exist only as art.
A former maker of metal furniture, Jonas lives and works from his Fort Myers, Florida studio where he moved 22 years ago before becoming a valued assistant to Robert Rauschenberg for 15 years. Grateful to have had the opportunity of working closely with and learning from two powerful artists over many years, Jonas has steadily pursued an independent path with his sculpture and has steadily gained the attention of galleries, museums, and collectors throughout the southeastern United States.
Stirner makes a few trips a year to the scrap metal yards of South Florida to find things of interest in order to start his process. Once he unloads the metal from his truck, Stirner begins examining the conglomeration. Various shapes of steel along with gears, wire-cloth, iron pipes, and chunk-like assemblages. Some of his favorite finds are old boat chains and the rebar found in concrete foundations. He especially likes steel from demolitions pointing out, “When buildings are destroyed, the rebar removed from the concrete makes incredible organic shapes.” He then cuts, hammers, bends, and welds the elements in a process the sculptor Jacques Lipchitz once described as, “the pleasure of working with forms, with materials, and with, the pure geometry of visible things.”
Stirner’s expansive yard snakes away from the studio area and is dotted with a dozen or more of his steel sculptures, one reaching 24’ high and comprised of an elevated old industrial tank with a bent ladder emerging from the top. Another seemingly crouches in the landscape, almost hidden from sight. Some of these works have developed a beautifully rich, rust-coated patina in the humid climate such as the large wall relief sculpture in this exhibition. Like every artist, Stirner will periodically threaten to rework a piece long considered finished. One such work sits under the large branch of a tree in his yard. He may again put his torch to the work some day in order to rework an area in the composition, or to make it into a wall relief. But for now, there are plenty of new pieces to make since he is has yet another truckload of scrap metal to unload.
Tues - Thurs 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Fri - Sat 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Sun 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM