Stephen De Staebler, (1933-2011)
Having worked primarily in clay for the first part of his career, De Staebler began experimenting with bronze during the late 1970s. Rather than viewing the two mediums as mutually exclusive, clay’s organic and malleable qualities exerted an undeniable influence upon De Staebler’s innovative approach to casting. The first step in his process was to cast into bronze hundreds of fragments of arms, legs, wings, and “earth forms” originally made from clay and wax. From this library of bronze fragments he was then, by means of assemblage, free to create entirely new forms. Even his ostensibly finished works were often subjected to further additions, subtractions, and modifications, as if he were still ““modeling”” the material. By producing new sculptures using fragments excavated from his own art practice, De Staebler developed a signature aesthetic recognized today as uniquely his own. Many of De Staebler’s works have been commissioned for public spaces throughout the United States, in particular the San Francisco Bay Area, where he worked and lived throughout his career as a teacher and artist.