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The Delaware Contemporary launches its 40th Anniversary year with an exhibition featuring our founder, Rick Rothrock, and long time supporter, Stan Smokler. Together, the work of these celebrated sculptors finds common ground in symbolism and shared visual experiences.
Rothrock captures the natural wonders that subtly surround us and transfigures them into stone sculptures. Ocean waves, animal metamorphoses, and invisible earthly energies all serve as inspirations for Rothrock's dynamic creations. Carvings are made into stone that was formed at a time when this planet was covered with vast colonies of primordial organisms dependent on the water for life. "These stones carry in them the story of their creation much in the same way that they contain the spirit and energy of the continuing process of creation of which we are all a part." - Rick Rothrock
Origins also speaks to The Delaware Contemporary's humble beginnings. Rick Rothrock spearheaded the development of an artist collaborative called the "ArtSquad" in the 1970s that created participatory, environmental art installations throughout the Wilmington area. This endeavor eventually led to the establishment of The Delaware Center For Contemporary Arts, now The Delaware Contemporary. Origins prompts us to look back at the forty-year history of our space, born of innovative spirit, as we celebrate the strides that have been made.
Rick Rothrock received his MFA in sculpture from the University of Delaware. He has worked at the New Castle County Arts Studios in New Castle, Delaware, where he taught sculpture and photography. After developing the ArtSquad and founding The Delaware Contemporary, Rothrock went on to serve as The Delaware Contemporary's first acting director and on the board of directors for eight years. Since then, he has remained an important ally and has gone on to create numerous public works for institutions across the nation. Rothrock was also instrumental in establishing the international exhibition artist collaboration known as SYNE that was installed throughout the United States and several international sites.
Smokler's steel sculptures lend themselves to new methods and possibilities. These monumental, life-size works and compelling abstract forms are developed from "a unique palette, applying industrial cast-offs, 'found objects' to create sculptures which deliberately deny their past history in order to serve a new formal purpose." - Stan Smokler
Embedded in the resoluteness of his geometric steel works is a wry sense of humor punctuated by color and composition.
Stan Smokler received his MFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and has taught at the Delaware College of Art and Design, the Delaware Division of the Pratt Institute, and the Corcoran School in Washington, D.C. Since 2005, he has been the director of the Marshall Bridge Workshop in Kennett Square, PA. From 1996-1999, Smokler also served on the board of directors for The Delaware Contemporary. His work has been written about by many publications, including the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer. His works have been exhibited at the Delaware Art Museum, the Museum of Shenandoah Valley, The Delaware Museum of Natural History, and in numerous galleries both nationally and internationally.
Curated by Michelle Dao and Kathrine Page
Carole Bieber & Marc Ham Gallery
New Castle County
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