Teacher Uses Recyclable Metals in Sculpture
- Artist and violinist David Tobey is a teacher in two New Rochelle, New York middle schools in Westchester county, NY, just north of New York City. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and a member of The Westchester Philharmonic, his work during a regular school year is teaching string instruments to his students. But Tobey, who's the son of the well known late historical illustrator and muralist Alton S. Tobey (1914-2005) is also a visual artist. In the past ten years, his paintings & sculptures have been in more than two dozen solo and group shows in his home community of Westchester, in nearby Fairfield County, CT and in established art galleries in New York City. Tobey also holds a master's degree in art and teaches art in the summer.
Tobey has had his artwork commented upon favorably in Art in America, the New York Times, the Art Times Journal, the Journal News, and many other local newspapers and other media, and has appeared on radio and TV talking about his work. A feature article on his welded steel sculpture in the January 2007 issue of Gallery & Studio magazine describes it as having " . . a unique draftsmanly fluidity in metal, surpassing even that of [Julio] Gonzalez".
An interesting thing about Tobey's sculpture is that in almost all cases, parts of his welded steel creations are formed from recycled material. This is because he makes his sculpture at a foundry in New Jersey -- LesMétalliers Champenois -- that's an international award-winning company specializing in fine and architectural art in metal for industry. LMC's projects have included the Torch & Flame of the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Flame in Paris, the main entrance doors of the NewYork Public Library and others both here in the U.S. and abroad.
Here Tobey has access to a huge array of materials and tools to fabricate his metal artwork, and also a tremendous amount of what some might call 'metal scrap' -- parts of architectural forms that were rejected for one reason or another or are cut-offs from other work. But many of the forms that Tobey finds here are pieces that, with his artist's eye, he sees as already formed aesthetic shapes that he uses as an principal form in a new sculpture or that fit into others that he may have already envisioned in his imagination but which have not yet been created physically.
Following the close of his March - June 2011 one-man show at the White Plains Museum, three venues in Westchester County are now newly exhibiting and selling his sculpture. They include The Washington Square Art Gallery, 367 South Ridge Street in Rye Brook; James, a gift shop at 21 Babbit Road in Bedford Hills, and the Museum Store at The Katohan Museum, Route 22 & Jay Street in Katonah.
Although the middle school students Tobey teaches are too young to be handling potentially dangerous equipment such as welding tools, Tobey's success as an artist might provide an inspiration to students who don't get a great deal of art education, such as those in BOCES programs or in shop classes. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by to see them; or take a look at the 'sculptures' page on Tobey's web site at http://www.davidtobey.com.