|Standing Man with Outstretched Arm, 1987|
The ceramics and bronzes of Berkeley artist Stephen De Staebler (1933-2011) have been familiar to me and much admired since the seventies – with many examples on view in my own Northern California environment, both in public spaces and museums – even though De Staebler's reputation in the wider world still seems to be fairly slender. The De Young Museum gave him a rather cramped and unsatisfactory retrospective exhibition last year – to mark the occasion of his death – but for all the show's inadequacies, the catalog issued with it (published by University of California Press) was beautifully produced, as these sample images demonstrate.
|Torso with Springing Hip, 1987|
|Walking Woman II, 1988|
|Winged Woman Walking VI, 1990|
|Yoke Winged Man, 1994|
|Winged Woman Walking X, 1995|
|Winged Figure with Three Legs, 2003|
In 2005 De Staebler was diagnosed with a form of Parkinson's disease and by 2006 was confined to a wheelchair. He hired sculptor Derek Weisberg as studio assistant and pursued a new working trajectory, directing the assemblage of preexisting fragments unearthed from his studio (what he called "the boneyard") as seen below.
|Man with Broad Chest, 2010|
|Standing Woman Leading, 2010|
|Figure with Gray Shoulder, 2010|
|Boneyard fragments and sculptures in the artist's Berkeley studio, 2011|