Editor's note: The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture
Museum at Saginaw Valley State University provided the following texts to
Resource Library. If you have questions or comments regarding the
source material, please contact the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum
directly through either this phone number or web address:
David Hostetler, Wood and
October 12, 2007 - January 26,
David Hostetler will display his works at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture
Museum at Saginaw Valley State University. "David Hostetler, Wood and Bronze Sculpture" opened at the Museum October 12, 2007 and marks his first Michigan
exhibition in some 60 years as an artist. The exhibition continues through
January 26, 2008. (right: David Hostetler in his studio, Athens,
OH, photo by Larry Hamill Lambert. Photo courtesy of Marshall M. Fredericks
Hostetler's work has been included in over 200 group shows
and has been the subject of one-person exhibitions in galleries and museums
throughout the United States.
His work also is in numerous public collections, including
Trump International Hotel & Tower, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston;
Kennedy Library, Boston; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio;
Columbus (Ohio) Museum of Art; Milwaukee (Wis.) Museum; Speed Museum, Louisville,
Ky.; Montgomery (Ala.)Museum of Fine Art; and De Cordova Museum, Lincoln,
"Hostetler's sculptures are undeniably unique and
intriguing works of art, said Marilyn Wheaton, Director of the Fredericks
Sculpture Museum. "His passion for and interest in the female form
and persona, the feminine mystique, is remarkable and unmistakable,"
A graduate of Indiana University, Hostetler was awarded
a Master of Fine Arts degree from Ohio University where he taught for 37
years. He retired from teaching as a professor of sculpture in 1985 and
is now Professor Emeritus. David and his wife Susan Crehan-Hostetler divide
their time between Athens, Ohio and Nantucket, Mass.
"I've never been to Bay City, Midland or Saginaw.
I'm looking forward to this because everyone tells me how wonderful the
Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is," said Hostetler from his
Nantucket studio. "I'm looking forward to sharing my women with others.
Anyone who loves my women is a friend of mine," added Hostetler with
David Hostetler is the creator of a series of captivating
works that celebrate the female form. Inspired by goddesses and women of
historical significance, Hostetler has based his life's work on honoring
the spirit, romance and earthiness of "the feminine" in exotic
woods and in bronze. Whether revealing the sensuousness of the female figure
or rendering visible the gift of feminine intuition, Hostetler's works are
moving, intriguing and a pleasure to touch and to see.
- "I love to carve wood. I am passionate about
the tactile quality of wood, its color, it's connection to humanity."
Hostetler's current focus is the goddess, and he finds
himself peculiarly inspired by the Semitic "Asherah". Thousands
of years ago Phoenicians and Canaanites carved her image from living trees,
as Hostetler does now in exotic woods of glorious grains and color.
- "Exotic woods such as Zebra, Pink Ivory, and
Ziricote are among some of the most exciting woods I have carved into sculptures.
The grain and color are a challenge to incorporate into my vision, but
the sculptures are rare and unique."
Hostetler has earned wide acclaim for his unique treatment
of the feminine form in wood and bronze. His artwork has been featured in
films, on television and in newspapers, magazines, and books. His biography
David L. Hostetler The Carver was published by Ohio University Press
in 1992. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University and
a master's degree at Ohio University, where he taught sculpture for 38 years
and was honored by being named Professor Emeritus.
(above: David Hostetler, Eternal, 1998, Bronze, blue
green patina, 7'6"h, Base: steel plate, 29"d)
Saginaw Valley State University hosted the premiere of
a documentary film on the work of an Ohio sculptor. "David Hostetler:
The Last Dance" on October11, 2007.
Produced by Too Much Media LLC, the 30-minute version of
the documentary features Hostetler's entire body of work, with a focus on
"The Last Dance," a recent sculpture that is in the David Hostetler,
Wood and Bronze Sculpture exhibition at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture
Museum. Producer Keith Newman and director Casey Hayward were given unlimited
access to Hostetler and his vast archives; their film is the first documentary
to feature him.
Newman and Hayward plan to show their documentary at film
festivals, gallery shows, and on public broadcasting stations following
the premiere. They are excited about bringing the film to SVSU.
"You will see the process from the moment the tree
is cut down to the finished product, a beautiful female form, one of David's
stunning women," said Newman.
(above: David Hostetler, Tribal Figure, 1999, Patinated
(above: David Hostetler, The Last Dance, 2007, Box
Elder wood, burned black and painted white, 5'3"h x 36"w x 12"d)
(above: David Hostetler, Asherah Tree Goddess, 2006,
Catalpa, poplar burl, tree root crown, 11' 7"h x 4'w x 3'd)
David Hostetler, Wood and Bronze Sculpture
October 12, 2007 - January 26, 2008
- David Hostetler has been called wood carver, direct carver,
sculptor, painter, potter, jazz musician, print maker, technician, free-thinking
educator, drummer and iconoclast. After spending twenty-four hours with
David and his gracious wife Susan at their Coolville Ridge Farm in Athens,
Ohio, I can attest that David is all of those things. I would add some
descriptive adjectives to those names, including passionate, creative,
powerful, and affirming.
- In preparation for the exhibition David Hostetler, Wood and Bronze
Sculptures, I decided to experience the art and the artist in their
most natural environment. When I arrived at Coolville Ridge Farm on a mild
December afternoon, David was working in his carving/sculpting studio.
Watching him with a chisel in one hand, a mallet in the other, and a discerning
look on his face a few inches from an exotic tree trunk, I knew I was watching
a very good artist do what he does best, which is carving tree trunks and
logs into exquisite women. I believe David when he says he's happiest in
his studio making art.
- David's passion for and interest in the female form and persona, the
feminine mystique, is remarkable and unmistakable. His relationship with
his wife Susan is exemplary of his esteem for women. You witness this in
the quintessential respect and generous spirit he extends to her naturally
in their home, in the studio, on the farm and in public. In a 2004 interview
with Zina Davis, Director of the Joseloff Gallery at the Hartford Art School,
David said, "Most religions are patriarchal, but nature is often portrayed
as female: woman as the force of life. I am more secure with the nurturing
warmth of women and the concept of the female life force than with the
testosterone-ridden Olympic escapades of males."
- David's sculptures and paintings are undeniably unique and intriguing
works of art. The Biography in the 2006 exhibition catalogue, Hostetler
at The Gallery at Penn College, effectively sums up David's work: "David
Hostetler is the creator of a series of original and captivating works
in wood and bronze that honor and celebrate the female form. Hostetler
has based his entire life's work on capturing the spirit, romance and earthiness
of 'the feminine' in exotic woods and in bronze."
- During my visit to Coolville Ridge Farm I was amazed with the beauty
of the raw exotic woods and indigenous hardwoods in the "tree log
library," and I was in awe of the carving process that David laboriously
and meticulously exerts to create majestic stylized forms and spiritual
icons, all representing the female. His bronzes are cast from the wood
carvings, "thereby developing the imagery with painterly patinas,
brilliant coloring and polished surfaces," says David.
- In addition to the Hostetler homestead and the carving/sculpting studio,
Coolville Ridge Farm is home to David's "tree log library," a
printing press and drawers filled with prints, a gallery of sculptures
and paintings, a sculpture garden among stately trees and farm buildings,
and "Dave's Place," where live jazz is performed Friday evenings
for locals. For one night, I was an appreciative and admiring local.
- During his 54-year art career, David has created over 1,000 pieces
in his "continuous quest of the nature of woman." The pieces
in this exhibition cover a wide spectrum of his work over the last decade:
sculptures in natural wood, painted wood, and bronze; sculpture/paintings;
a painting; and a woodcut, representing nearly all of the art mediums David
has mastered in his career. It also depicts the range of topical women
he has researched and fabricated, from pre-biblical times to ancient civilizations
to contemporary time.
- David and Susan have been extraordinarily helpful in the preparation
of this exhibition. Thank you! It is my pleasure to recognize and thank
other individuals who made this exhibition possible, including Carl Fredericks
who suggested the exhibition; Constance L. Hughes, art consultant; Todd
Carroll, Hostetler's assistant; Matthew Zivich, Professor of Art; and The
Dow Chemical Company for sponsoring the exhibition.
- Marilyn L. Wheaton, Director
The Last of the Bohemians
- The sculptor David Hostetler, who was born in Ohio in 1926, exemplifies
his generation of artists who have been caught in that limbo of seminal
post- and pre-periods of sculptural styles. Born too late for the broadside
of Cubism that affected artists such as Lipschitz, Hostetler arrived in
time for the fallout that created those hybrids of the post-Cubist period.
The look of Hostetler's work falls somewhere between the far out pieces
of Jacques Lipschitz, who paid high homage to Picasso, and the rival camp
of Art Deco devotees such as, say, the highly stylized sculptures of Ivan
Mestrovic, whose modern notions still owe more to Italian piazza sculpture
- Mr. Hostetler's devotion to the female form as subject matter with
media that has been prevalent in Western art from the Renaissance to Julio
Gonzalez is a romantic vestige of classical art that his generation of
modernists has steadfastly refused to relinquish. That dependence on the
female form with all its associations is clearly the forte of Mr. Hostetler.
His svelte, model-like figures are coy and fashionable. Some pieces bring
to mind possible earlier sculptural influences, such as the inescapable
Elie Nadelman without the faux- naiveté, and to a much lesser extent
that Swiss master of European angst, Alberto Giacometti.
- Mr. Hostetler's use of polychrome patinas on some of his figurative
sculptures seems to be derived from the local or possibly the actual coloration
of clothing and hair, and is used for enhanced visual stimulation and contrast
between literal shapes. It comes across as a concession to the popular
images one might find in the graphic media, such as fashion photography.
The anatomical forms of his highly stylized works are construed to conform
to lyrically enveloping curves without overpowering the coyness of the
subjects. Maillol cum Erte'?
- We are reminded of the medium in the wood sculptures by the surface's
staccato of mottled tool marks. That pride in the use of traditional media
for its own sake is a hallmark of Hostetler's generation. In their after
hours bull-sessions, the endless shop talk for these sculptors is usually
expressed in the macho, "guy-talk" jargon of the romanticized,
latter day Bohemians. It's not so much about the aesthetics of Western
art as it is about the dirty fingernail enjoyment of a hands-on experience.
And it's about the inherent beauty of processed wood, bronze, marble or
clay per se. The newer, effete generation of Postmodernists who had been
weaned on Duchamp and Andy Warhol has less respect for craftsmanship.
- The construction of large scale or monumental sculptures requires so
much time, labor and perspiration, even with the help of skilled technicians
that are frequently a part of the process. Often that challenge alone has
culled from the ranks the most formidable of practicing sculptors. As a
result, a yeomanry of sculptors exists in this country that persists with
successful, lifetime careers. Mr. Hostetler is indeed one of the more formidable
practitioners who have centered his interests in supporting the Mediterranean
tradition in a modern way with his versions of the idealized female in
newer, popular sculptural expressions.
- Matthew Zivich, Professor of Art
- Asherah Tree Goddess, 2006
- Catalpa, poplar burl, tree root crown
- 11' 7"h x 4'w x 3'd
- Owl Ancient Tree Goddess, 1998
- Wood, black and white patina
- Roots, 34"w x 34"d
- Cycladic Ancient Tree Root Goddess, 1997
- Roots, 37"w x 34"d
- African Ancient Tree Root Goddess, 2003
- Bronze, black and white patina
- Roots, 32"w x 28"d
- Guardian I, 2001
- Base: Wood and aluminum
- 4 _"h x 15 _"d
- The Duo, 1996
- Red oak
- 7' 2"h x 26"w x 18 _"d
- Tribal Figure, 1999
- Patinated bronze
- Eternal, 1998
- Bronze, blue green patina
- Base: steel plate, 29"d
- Monumental Cycladic Woman, 1997
- Taos cotton wood, stained orange
- 8'h x 25"w x 20"d
- Base: Poplar hewn beam with pine cap
- 3'6"h x 15w x 15 _" d
- Bird Goddess II, 1999
- Ash and catalpa burned black
- Duo on Plynth, 2006
- Bronze, brown rubbed patina
- 7'h x 15"w x 15"d
- Springtime Lady, 2006
- Bronze, blue green patina
- 3'5"h x 7"w x 17 _"d
- Asherah Tree Goddess III, 2000
- Bronze, pale patina with roots
- Jazz Singer VI, 2003
- Red oak, saffron paint
- 34"h x 27"w x 8 _"d
- Dancing Lady, 2005
- Bronze, pale green patina
- 35"h x 8"w x 17"d
- Vamp, 2005
- Catalpa, red and black paint
- 2' 4 _"h
- Base: Black marble
- x 2"h x 6 _"d
- Guardian II, 2001
- Base: Brass, blue green patina
- 2 _"h x 10 _"d
- Love Form Head II, 2002
- 20"h x 11 _"
- Base: Walnut painted black
- 2"h x 11 _"d
- The Last Dance, 2007
- Box Elder wood, burned black and painted white
- 5'3 _"h x 36"w x 12"d
- Anasazi Goddess Fetish #1, 2003
- Acrylic painting with zebra wood sculpture
- 37 _"h x 25 _"w x 5"d
- Anasazi Goddess Fetish #5, 2004
- Acrylic painting on masonite with spalted zebra sculpture
- 45"h x 29 _"w x 5 _"d
- Yahweh and His Asherah #1, 2006
- Oil on canvas with sculpture
- 36 _"h x 27 _"w x 9"d
- Lunar Goddess II, 2005
- Oil on Masonite with catalpa wood sculpture, natural horn
- 47 _"h x 26 _"w x 6 _"d
- Memory of a Dream, 2005
- Oil on wood
- 25 _"h x 25 _"w
- Memory of a Dream, 2004
- 33"h x 25 _"w
- David Hostetler was born in Beach City, Ohio in 1926. He is a graduate
of Indiana University and was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree from
Ohio University where he taught for 37 years. He retired from teaching
as a full professor of sculpture in 1985 and is now Professor Emeritus.
David and his wife Susan Crehan-Hostetler divide their time between Athens,
Ohio and Nantucket, Massachusetts. David Hostetler's work has been included
in over 200 group shows and has been the subject of one-person
- exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States.
Select Public Collections
- Trump International Hotel & Tower, New York
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
- Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts
- Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
- Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio
- Milwaukee Museum, Wisconsin
- Speed Museum, Louisville, Kentucky
- Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Alabama
- De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, MA
- The Dow Chemical Company
Resource Library wishes to
extend appreciation to Marilyn Wheaton, Director, Marshall M. Fredericks
Sculpture Museum, for her help concerning permissions for reprinting the
Readers may also enjoy:
Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional
source by visiting the sub-index page for the Marshall
M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum in Resource Library.
Visit the Table
of Contents for Resource Library for thousands
of articles and essays on American art.
Copyright 2007 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights