International Iron Tribe Exhibit Showcases Contemporary Cast Iron Art

Image of steel sculpture

Christopher Thomson’s forged steel piece, Aspire #2, is featured in the international Iron Tribe iron art exhibition at Highlands that opens Feb. 8 and continues through March 1. 
Photo: Margaret McKinney/Highlands University

Las Vegas, N.M. – Leading international and American contemporary iron artists are featured in a sculpture exhibit that is part of the Iron Tribe 2019 event at Highlands University.

The Iron Tribe art exhibit opens February 8 in the university’s Burris Hall Gallery, 903 National Ave. It continues through Friday, March 1 with a closing reception that day from 3 to 5 p.m.

“This curated show is as much about the culture of iron artists as it is about mediums,” says David Lobdell, the Highlands fine arts professor who founded the biennial Iron Tribe event in 2001. “It features iron and steel sculptures, paintings, photographs, fine art prints, and videos that are all connected to the idea of iron as a physical element.”

The Department of Fine Arts’ Iron Tribe event has earned an international reputation for attracting iron artists from around the globe. Lobdell, who chairs the Performing and Visual Arts Department, curates the art exhibit and leads Iron Tribe.

This year, the artists featured in the exhibit hail from England, Ireland, Germany, Poland and Scotland.   The American artists are from New York, California, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Kansas and Montana.

Lobdell says the aesthetics of the different artworks range from political and satirical to technical and abstract.

“In addition, sculptors are discovering new ways to make objects that are then cast into metal. An example is using a 3-D printer to make a pattern,” he says.

Lobdell explains that the primary purpose of the Iron Tribe exhibit is to expose Highlands University students and the public to the contemporary iron art movement. “This exhibit brings our students into direct contact with innovative practicing artists. It’s a multigenerational exhibit that includes well established and up-and-coming artists.”

Iron Tribe 2019 includes the art exhibit as well as a performance iron pour on February 28; an iron art symposium March 1 featuring Christopher Thomson, a Northern New Mexico forged steel artist; and a production casting session for the campus and community March 2. More details will follow.