Mark Leichliter, Anubis, bronze, 16 x 31⁄2 x 71⁄2.
“My work is an outgrowth of my love of pure form,” says Mark Leichliter. “It comes from my fascination with the forces of nature that shape the objects around us—I try to emulate them within the context of the creative process.” Leichliter believes that each natural material—whether limestone or cherry wood—possesses unique intrinsic qualities, and he strives to allow this “inner spirit” full and complete expression.
Mark Leichliter, Inner Dance, bronze, 4 x 7 x 17.
A lifelong resident of Loveland, CO, Leichliter apprenticed under Dan Ostermiller and Kent Ullberg before he began sculpting full time in 1994. Since then he has participated in a number of juried shows, including Sculpture in the Park in Loveland, CO; the Cantigny Park Sculpture Show in Wheaton, IL; and the Colorado Governor’s Invitational at the Loveland Museum/Gallery.
“I hope that the resonance of different materials and the interrelationships of shapes in my work encourages viewers to be sensitive to their own surroundings,” Leichliter says. “I want them to become more attuned to the construction of things and more in sync with the universal rhythms that surround us.” —KB
Leichliter is represented by Columbine Gallery, Loveland, CO, and Grapevine Gallery, Oklahoma City, OK.
“I’m interested in history and mythology,” says Arizona sculptor John Coleman. “I like to tell stories in my work using metaphors that help explain who we are and where we came from.” While the historical accuracy of his Native American images is important to him—the structure and authenticity of a headdress, for example—what matters most is the emotional underpinnings of his sculptures. “People feel the emotional impact before they understand the story behind a piece,” Coleman says. “To me, history is like a lyric, and my sculpture is the musical interpretation that engages the emotions.”
Unlike many sculptors, Coleman completes almost all of the sculpting process in his own studio. He makes the clay mold and pours the wax; then the waxes are sprued and the piece goes to the foundry.
The foundry pours the rough cast in
Mark Rossi, Blacktail Jackrabbit Grooming, bronze, 171⁄2 x 10 x 9, edition 27.
pieces, and then the pieces return to Coleman’s studio to be welded together and patinated. “I’m a natural-born craftsman,” says Coleman, “and I like to surround myself with machines and clay.” —MB
Coleman is represented by Altermann & Morris Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Troy’s Western Heritage Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; and Miranda Gallery, Aspen, CO.
Mark Rossi lives in the Arizona desert at the base of the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. He enjoys living there because it allows him to hike and ride the rocky land that is home to rabbits, coyotes, deer, and sheep, along with saguaro cactus, mesquite, and creosote.
On these desert excursions, Rossi collects bones, skulls, and shells and watches for the animals that inspire his sculpture—blacktail jackrabbits, kit foxes, desert tortoises. “Although my work is realistic, I’m not interested in copying nature,” Rossi says. “I’ve learned to let my materials show me what they can do. I want to allow the form to emerge from the clay or the metal.”
Rossi inherited his connection to the land from his mother, who is of Apache, Pueblo, and Spanish-New Mexican heritage. He learned about
Mark Rossi, White-Tailed Fawn Reclining, bronze, 81⁄2 x 18 x 15, edition 22.
sculpture from his father, Paul Rossi, an artist and former director of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK. Mark grew up watching him at work in his studio and foundry. —DT
Rossi is represented by Clarke Galleries, Stowe, VT; J. Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, AZ; Redfern Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA; Terry DeLapp Gallery, Cambria, CA; and Zaplin-Lampert Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
In his 30 years as a lawyer, Charles Allmond discovered that sculpting in his free time was therapeutic. “While I was practicing law,” he says, “the greatest thing was to be able to come home and
Charles Allmond, Chachalaca, cherry burl/Indiana limestone, 18 x 141⁄2 x 6.
take a hammer and chisel and beat the hell out of a stone—just beat out my frustration.” Because of his demanding career, though, Allmond had little time to sculpt. “It gradually got to the point where practicing law was getting in the way of everything I wanted to do.” So in 1995 Allmond left the firm to sculpt full time.
Working primarily in wood and stone, his subject matter ranges from birds to abstract forms. “Some of my work is purely abstract and doesn’t represent any particular animal, but many are organic—you can see some kind of life in them.”
Whatever the subject matter, Allmond respects simplicity. “I like to reduce things to their essential form. My goal is to create something timeless.” —LB
Allmond is represented by Delaware Art Museum Sales Gallery, Wilmington; Shidoni Bronze Gallery, Tesuque, NM; and Warm Springs Gallery, Warm Springs, VA.
Robin Laws was raised in Brush, CO, a rural community in the northeastern part of the state, and now lives on a small acreage in nearby Fort Morgan. “I grew up with a deep appreciation and respect for the rural way of life and the animals that are an integral part of it,” says Laws. “All of my work is based on my experiences with my animals, so each has its own story.”
Charles Allmond, Skeleton, Italian alabaster/elk antler, 9 x 12 x
Just For Kids, for example, came from an experience Laws had one bitterly cold evening. While checking on the animals in her barn, she realized that her two burros and two horses had separated a newborn goat from its mother. She watched while one pony grabbed the baby goat and threw it straight up in the air: “The poor little goat hit the rafters of the barn and fell back to the floor with a thud!” she says. After she rescued the goat, Laws returned it to its mother. “They were so happy to be reunited. The baby snuggled into her mother’s soft fur as the mother gently licked her. It was very touching,” she says.
Just One Buck was done as a tribute to a rabbit named Buck Bunny who was born
Robin Laws, Just One Buck, bronze, 71⁄2 x 4 x 3
on Laws’ farm in 1993. “As Buck grew it was obvious that he was gentle and good-natured,” Laws says. “There will never be another bunny quite like Buck.” —KB
Laws is represented by Paint Horse Gallery, Breckenridge, CO;
Laws is represented by Paint Horse Gallery, Breckenridge, CO; Carson Gallery, Denver, CO; El Prado by the Creek, Sedona, AZ; and Deselms Fine Art, Cheyenne, WY.
California sculptor Carol Gold grew up on a dairy farm in western Massachusetts and studied art at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Boston University School of Fine Arts, MA; and the Museum School in Boston. Before she embarked on a sculpture career, however, she spent 14 years raising her family. In 1977 Gold resumed her art career in earnest, enrolling at the College of Marin in Kentfield, CA, to study bronze casting. Encouraged by her results with the medium, she built her own foundry in Northern California and has been operating it ever since.
Gold shapes her figures and animals from wax rather than clay because she likes the way it can be manipulated to convey emotion and mood. “Wax enables me to sketch-in my figures rapidly,”
Robin Laws, Just For Kids, bronze, 7 x 10 x 8
she says. “It has a lightness to it that I like.”
Her work is characterized by rich patinas in colors that range from warm tones of gold and copper to various shades of turquoise. —DT
Gold is represented by Columbine Gallery, Loveland, CO; Howard/ Mandville Gallery, Kirkland, WA; Michael Himovitz Gallery, Sacramento, CA; Rice & Falkenberg Gallery, Palm Beach, FL; and
Stary-Sheets Fine Art, Laguna Beach, CA.
Cliff Fragua studied sculpting at the
Carol Gold, Raziel, bronze, 21 x 21 x 5.
Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, in the early 1970s under renowned sculptor Allan Houser. Known for his stylized figures, Fragua works primarily in stone—alabaster, marble, and steatite—but has also produced seven bronze editions.
Fragua carves directly into the stone using a variety of power and hand tools. “I usually start without a preconceived idea of what the image is going to be,” he says. “Then I gradually discover what’s there.” When selecting stones to carve, he looks for solid pieces with good color and interesting shapes.
The hardest part is not breaking the stone. “Stone is actually quite fragile,” Fragua says. “But it can be cooperative, too, once you find the secret to carving it.” The secret comes from years of practice.
“I look at the stone as a teacher—I can learn a lot from it, not just as a sculptor but also as
Carol Gold, Opinion, bronze, 23 x 12 x 12.
a person,” he says. “Carving stone has taught me to be patient and humble, not to exert my will onto the stone or onto others but to use tools to make changes.” —MB
Fragua is represented by Ray Tracey Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Four Winds Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, and Sarasota, FL; Elk Ridge Art Co., Evergreen, CO; Faust Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; and Lee Youngman Galleries, Calistoga, CA.
Oklahoma sculptor Gary Hale started his career at age 5 when he first molded animals from clay. What began as simply child’s play evolved into a passion for capturing the beauty of the animal form in sculpture. A licensed falconer for more than 30 years, Hale finds inspiration in birds of prey, which are some of his favorite subjects. He also creates life-size bronzes of mountain lions, deer, and tigers like his Siberian tiger at the Tulsa, OK, zoo.
Hale prefers to start a sculpture in clay, finding it easier to pinpoint problems right away. “Sometimes I work out an idea in two dimensions,
Cliff Fragua, Song of the Moon, Waves, and Mountains, bronze, h20, edition 30.
but what might look good in a painting may not work as a sculpture,” he says. “I do a clay sketch, working out the compositional problems as I go.”
Hale’s work is on view at the Gilcrease and Philbrook museums, both in Tulsa, and a new life-size sculpture of a Bengal tiger will soon be installed on the campus of Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. —LB
Hale is represented by Breckenridge Galleries, Breckenridge, CO; Napier Sculpture Gallery, Friday Harbor, WA; Colour Connection Gallery, Tulsa, OK; and Sportsman’s Gallery, Savannah, GA.
When Robert Deurloo was living in Wyoming 25 years ago he fell head over heels for a bronze buffalo at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody. Realizing that a bronze that size was well out of his price range, he set out to make one himself. “I went to an art supply store and asked how to make a bronze,” says Deurloo, “and with a block of wax and my pocket knife I carved myself a buffalo.”
Looking back over his many years of sculpting, Deurloo finds that buffalo a little rudimentary but a good start nonetheless. He works in clay now instead of wax; other than a few workshops on patinas, he is entirely self-taught. Starting with a bulk of clay and a firm vision, Deurloo sculpts the animals who live close to his home in rural Idaho, which is near one of the largest wildlife preserves in the country. “I’m surrounded by all the animals I sculpt,” says Deurloo. “There are elk and deer within a couple of miles of my house. Living here, it’s easy to get inspired.” —LB
Deurloo is represented by Wind River Gallery, Aspen, CO; Cogswell Gallery, Vail, CO; Third Canyon Gallery, Denver, CO; Creative Expressions, Taos, NM; and Wild Wings Gallery, Seattle, WA.
Born in Montana in 1964, Brad Rude spent hours as a boy in his grandfather’s workshop, where they would work on projects like carving parts for a small wooden wagon or building a windmill from cast-off metal parts.
Rude began collecting objects at that time, too, starting with a wooden-tipped arrow. Before long he had turned his bedroom into a museum, complete
Cliff Fragua, Raindrops, alabaster, 32 x 16.
with dramatic lighting. Today the walls of Rude’s Washington studio are lined with shelves that display pottery shards, bones and skulls, bird’s nests, and old tools, some of which find their way into his work.
Animals are the strongest images in Rude’s sculptures. He juxtaposes them with other elements in odd, surprising ways. In 1996 Rude constructed Into the Calm, an eight-spoked wheel more than 7 feet tall. Supported by a cow standing atop a stump, his “wheel of life” includes a bison, deer, lion, elephant, and wolf, along with a stone, rope, and toy tractor. “My work speaks about the interconnectedness of all things,” he says.
Original Nature, a show of the artist’s sculptures and paintings, is currently touring the West. It premiered at the Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT, and is now on view at the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT, through July 31. It also travels to Gail Severn Gallery, Ketchum, ID; Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA; the Missoula Museum of Art, Missoula, MT; and the Boise Art Museum, ID. —DT
Rude is represented by Gail Severn Gallery, Ketchum, ID, and Susan Cummins Gallery, Mill Valley, CA.
Featured in “Portfolio” July 1998
Gary Hale, On Eagles’ Wings, bronze, h39.
Gary Hale, The Yearlings, bronze, h43.
Robert Deurloo, Little Lovers, bronze, h5.
Robert Deurloo, Wolf, bronze, h6.
Brad Rude, Into the Calm, painted bronze, 90 x 60 x 21.