April 8–July 1, 2006
Opening Reception: April 8, 6–9 p.m.
Preview Event and Dinner: April 7, 6:30 p.m.
The American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA), in Pomona, California, will open a solo exhibition of the work of Pennsylvania-based sculptor Steve Tobin, titled Exploded Earth, on Saturday, April 8, 2006. Tobin, who also works in bronze and steel, has chosen ceramics as his “expression of choice” to create a dynamic body of work that involves the use of explosives detonated inside blocks of wet clay, creating sculptural forms unlike anything seen before in the realms of ceramics or sculpture. The pieces shown at AMOCA will range in size and weight from 4′ to 6′ in diameter and from 1,000 to 4,000 lbs.
Tobin, who earned a degree in theoretical mathematics from Tulane University while simultaneously pursuing his interest in science and glass blowing, blends art and science in all the media in which he works.
“I am interested in translating forces of nature into form,” said Tobin. “In the case of ‘exploded earth,’ the detonation results in a structure that serves to document movement from order to chaos. The clay body records the infinitely complex details and patterns of the blast, leaving a remnant that is not unlike geological formations or crystal-filled geodes. Basically, the artistic process is one of “creation by event.” In this series, Tobin serves as the catalyst that converts a tumultuous incident into a touchable memory, one with form, texture, and color. “In my mind, destruction and creation are so closely related that they often can be the same experience.”
Volatility . . . gunpowder . . . explosives . . . these are the elements of Steve Tobin’s force majeure in the formation of his dynamic Exploded Earth forms. David Armstrong, AMOCA’s founder, reminds us that “These tools, which Steve uses so adroitly, are normally thought of as products of destruction. Yet, in Steve’s hands, they are ‘implements of construction,’ used in a way that exploits randomness to a level that is seldom found outside of nature’s creations.”
AMOCA’s exhibition floor will hold several of Tobin’s largest pieces, with medium sized forms mounted on walls and small “explosions” shown in cases. Tobin states, “My goal is to make pieces 10′ to 15′ in size, so that people can walk inside them and be ‘digested’ by the experience.”