Through our curator-driven exhibition program, we have the unique opportunity to work with a multitude of artists whose vision and creative approach range tremendously. No two exhibitions are ever quite the same and each brings new energy and perspective into the space, guaranteeing a fresh experience each time you walk through our doors. Sculptor Tom Miles, who has recently exhibited work in “Reinterpreting Landscape and Nature" curated by Barbara Harberger here at Stanek is among one of the artists who has inspired us with his superb craftsmanship and innovation. I had the pleasure of speaking with Tom about his work which I appreciate more each time I see it as there seems to be no end to its intrigue.
What you will immediately notice about this collection
is that it is extraordinarily diverse. “Jesus 48”, a large, beautifully abstracted torso is rendered in foam and painted plaster. “Fred and Ginger”, an exquisite and playful take on the dancers is carved out of Carrera marble. A threesome— “White Girl”, “Green Boy” and “Horny Boy”—are arranged together in semi-translucent alabaster, soapstone and grey alabaster while the powerfully seductive “Abstract 1”, a female nude, stands 18” tall in stainless steel. “I have an idea and I allow myself to go with it. There are no limits” Tom says when I ask about this wonderful variety. “If something speaks to me, I pick it up. Now I’m working with glass.”
Tom's penchant for making art was established at a young age as he was drawing from life and firing clay as early as the third grade. Surrendering to his craft however did not happen quickly as other things seemed to be competing for him. After receiving a degree in Sociology and studying Theology at Princeton, Tom enrolled in The Philadelphia College of Arts (now the University of the Arts) where he studied the figure under Walter Earlbacher. His mentor would have a profound influence on him as Tom went on to sculpt life-size figurative works and teach artistic anatomy for a period of thirty years. “All of this is figural”, Tom says of his sculpture in our last exhibition. “The figure is there in every piece.”
For a period of time after school, Tom simultaneously was making his own work and running a successful business of enlarging sculpture for visual artists (among whom were Frank Stella, Jeff Koons, Larry Bell and architect John Portman). “I never stopped doing my own thing. I was always thinking and creating…And I enjoyed collaborating with some of those guys. They were brilliant.”
Now working full-time on his own pieces, Tom is quite prolific. His studio is full of work of all kinds but does not hesitate to call "stone" his preferred medium. He describes the process of carving as being extremely laborious and meditative all at once. “It's completely absorbing. I lose myself in it and allow the stone to dictate which direction I’ll take”.
Visit http://inliquid.org/ to learn more about Tom Miles and his available works.