It’s a wonder that Frank Morbillo has spent any time in his studio this spring and summer! Between charity auctions, installations, art openings and Southwestern adventures, the Tesuque sculptor has had quite a busy year thus far. He’s been sending us behind-the-scenes photographs along the way. Here’s a visual wrap-up of the life of a sculptor:
Frank’s elegant Ceremonial Shovel (right) was on display at the gallery in May, and then it appeared in the Creative Shovel Art Benefit Auction on June 5th. Participating artists decorated shovels, which were auctioned off to support the cataloging and restoration of New Deal artworks across the state through the New Mexico chapter of the National New Deal Preservation Association. The New Deal brought arts and cultural programs to remote communities in New Mexico, facilitating powerful new portraits of American life. Many of these projects are still intact, but need attention before this important legacy is lost forever.
Next up, Frank installed his sculpture Conference Table at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden for their invitational exhibition The Power of Place. The exhibition challenged 16 local sculptors to create works based on the New Mexico landscape. It’s a perfect fit for Frank, who spends part of every summer hiking the Desert Southwest to capture the lines and colors of the Canyonlands. Check out the slide show above to get an idea of the incredible effort it takes to move a steel and bronze artwork from Tesuque to Santa Fe.
At the May 15 opening for The Power of Place, Frank chatted with Lawrence and Linda about the creation of the piece. After he made the brown portions of the table from fabricated steel, he poured molten bronze into the cracks and pulled it apart to create the topsy turvy surface. The bronze is the green river of metal that courses through the work.
“This one was done in two pours because it’s so big. I pulled the top half in one pour and then the bottom half, and welded it together,” Frank said. “When the bronze is really hot it will flow a lot more. When it starts to cool, it will break similar to the consistency of cake. So this was done more towards the cooler end than the hot molten end.”
Frank often references geologic phenomena to comment on human behavior, and this piece is no exception. “When people come together, they’re not always on the same page and in agreement. The tectonic shifts of Conference Table represent that,” he said. So, is the table coming together or falling apart? “Well, it’s one of those things,” he said with a laugh. “I would say it’s forming, and hopefully coming together. I’m an optimistic person in a lot of ways. It has a positive future for sure.”
You can see Frank’s work in the The Power of Place at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden through May 1, 2016.
In early July, Frank refreshed our gallery’s facade with a monumental sculpture called Momentum. He dutifully snapped photos of the work’s creation for us. As you can see, it was a quite an elemental process! Now the sculpture sits outside the gallery, greeting visitors with its spectacular, undulating motion. Check it out:
To top it all off, Frank is working on a restoration project. His fountain Entropy Column has been on display at the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos for 22 years. It’s a three week process to add a new spin finish and patina to the sculpture. Here are photos from before, during and after the restoration: