Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University fine arts professor David Lobdell’s fire sculpture will be featured at the international Festival of High Temperatures June 23 – 25 in the heart of the medieval city of Wroclow, Poland.
Lobdell is among the internationally acclaimed artists the Academy of Art and Design in Wroclow invited to participate in the 10th jubilee of the festival organizers say celebrates hot art.
“What’s spectacular and unique about this festival is it’s a confluence of different art forms that all rely upon fire,” Lobdell said. “It features ceramics, glass and metal casting, collectively called pyrometric art because each uses high temperatures.”
Lobdell, a leader in the international iron art movement, said that fire is a primordial form of expression that drives people to participate in festivals like the one in Wroclaw.
His fire sculpture design is a 10-foot high steel frame that is fired by propane burners. The sculpture glows every color of the fire spectrum from deep orange to indigo.
“Onlookers can write a message and slip it into a small metal box on the frame, sending their thoughts and prayers into the cosmos,” Lobdell said.
Festival organizers write that Lobdell’s fire sculpture, lit after dark, will be one of the most spectacular attractions of the festival.
Michal Staszczak, Festival of High Temperatures director and a sculpture professor at the Academy of Art and Design, also invited Lobdell to teach a sand molding sculpture workshop at the academy before the festival.
“We will create hard sand molds that we pour the hot metal into to create sculptures,” Lobdell said.
He said the Wroclow festival is an exciting opportunity to meet and work with artists from throughout the Western Hemisphere.
“I’m impressed with what Michal Staszczak has developed with this Festival of High Temperatures and it’s an honor to participate. I’ll integrate what I learn into classes I teach at Highlands like Sculpture, Design Fundamentals, and Introduction to Art,” said Lobdell, who has taught on the Highlands faculty for 26 years.
Lobdell knows what goes into establishing a successful and ongoing international art event. In 2001 at Highlands he launched Iron Tribe, a biennial iron art event that includes an iron art exhibit featuring artists from across the world, an iron art symposium, a popular performance casting session, and a community production casting session in the university’s art foundry.
“Our internationally recognized art foundry at Highlands will benefit from the art I see at the Festival of High Temperatures. I’ll be exposing our students to new techniques and ideas I learn,” Lobdell said.
Lobdell has exhibited his iron art pieces in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland as well as across the United States. Currently, his pieces are part of public sculpture programs at the Florissant Valley campus of St. Louis Community College in Missouri and Tarrant County College in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Lobdell was the founding president of the Western Cast Iron Art Alliance in the United States and continues to serve on its board of directors.