New Scuptures coming to the Copeland Sculpture Garden
April 18, 2016
Summer will bring exciting, new installations to the Copeland Sculpture Garden. The first is the conservation and reinstallation of David Stromeyer’s Electroglide (1983). Through a purchase made possible by grants from Crystal Trust and the Longwood Foundation, the Delaware Art Museum acquired Electroglide directly from the artist in 1983. The piece is an excellent example of Stromeyer’s work from the early 1980s and represents the ongoing interest in large-scale abstract, geometric sculptures that developed in the early 1960s. The renovation of the Museum’s building and campus from 2002 through 2005 necessitated the removal and storage of all of the outdoor sculptures. Because of its size and condition, Electroglide is the last piece to be returned to the Museum campus. Prior to its reinstallation, the piece received extensive conservation—including repainting—to guarantee the future stability of the sculpture.
Two additional large-scale sculptures were recently added to the Museum’s collection. For the past 27 years, Bernie Felch’s Dream Stele (1988) has been installed on the site of the Urban Environmental Center, now Urban Bike Project, at 1500 North Walnut Street in Wilmington. Constructed of 25 layers of eight oversized bricks, this sculpture was originally made for the national competition, Altered Sites, at Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park Arboretum of the Horticulture Center, on view in 1988. Dream Stele is a fine example of the artist’s carved brick forms and incorporates imagery perhaps inspired by Egyptian or ancient Near East iconography. For his designs, Felch found inspiration in both the ancient and modern world, and the formal composition juxtaposed with the curvilinear lines and circular shapes illustrates these dual interests well. Dream Stele will complement Felch’s site-specific installation In the Park, constructed at the Museum in 1986–87.
Stan Smokler generously offered the gift of his 2011 steel sculpture, Circle of Lines, for inclusion in the Copeland Sculpture Garden. A regional sculptor who has taught at the Delaware College of Art and Design since 1998, Smokler most recently participated in the Delaware Art Museum’s 2015 Outlooks exhibition, Reconstructed Elements. The artist received his bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his master of fine arts degree from the Pratt Institute. Smokler has participated in numerous group exhibitions and was a YADDO Fellow in 2011, and his work has been the subject of over 40 solo exhibitions. Smokler explains that he is “always searching for new ways to invent and organize space” and this sculpture—created from found steel—shows the artist’s interest in line and abstract forms.
Major funding for these projects has been provided by the Felch family, Marmot Foundation, the Museum Council, and Stan Smokler. The Museum is grateful for the support given by these individuals and organizations in helping expand the representation of contemporary American sculpture. The installation will be complete by the end of June, and I encourage repeat visits to the Copeland Sculpture Garden to enjoy the beauty of art in nature.
Curator of Contemporary Art