e-Newsletter of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary | February 15, 2013 Twitter Facebook

Transformations–Works in Steel

Untitled, 2001, steel,
18" x19.5" x10.25"

Karl Stirner is an 89-year old, German-born sculptor, artist, art patron, and mentor, whose artwork has been inspired by both natural and manmade materials. His exhibit Transformations—Works in Steel, opens February 21 in the Payne Gallery and runs through April 7. A free opening reception and artist talk will be held on Thursday, February 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Stirner’s art career began at age 23, when he opened a metal shop in Philadelphia. He was asked to teach at the metal arts department at the Tyler School of Art, and then went on to educate students about basic design and art history at Temple University, and Moore and Swarthmore colleges.            

His search for metal to use in his creations has led him as far as the bottom of the sea, where he salvaged loose metal scraps from shipwrecks. Closer to home, he has used pieces from Bethlehem Steel and found objects around the Lehigh Valley to create more than 400 pieces of art throughout his career. Stirner constantly alters his sculptures to see how he can improve them or design a new masterpiece.

A resident of Easton, Stirner also creates his art in his studio there. In honor of his work in the art world, Easton’s Mayor Salvatore Panto Jr. dedicated a 2.5 mile pathway in his name—the Karl Stirner Arts Trail. His art work has been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“It’s not easy to bend steel and make it do what you want it to do,” says David Leidich, assistant director of the Payne Gallery. “But Karl makes it look easy. Stirner's reputation in Lehigh Valley arts, especially in the city of Easton, is immense. It is an honor for Moravian to display this retrospective of the life work of this sculptor who has make his indelible mark on the art world.”

Three or four large pieces will be exhibited on the gallery’s main floor; some will be as tall as the mezzanine. Groupings of smaller sculptures and nearly a dozen large-scale drawings will be arranged throughout the upstairs space.

The Payne Gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. daily except Mondays, major holidays and college breaks. Visit the Payne Gallery Website for more information.