Thomas Ostenberg was a highly successful banker, at the point in his career when most people seriously cash in on their hard work; but after a lifetime visiting the best art exhibitions on Earth- Thomas realised that he was an artist. Unlike most people who have a thought that perhaps they should be doing something else - Thomas Ostenberg exchanged his stock portfolio for an artists portfolio and poured all his cash into bronze.
After graduating from the Royal College of Art, Thomas sold out an edition of a bronze at The Royal Academy Summer Show, was commissioned for a Princess Diana Memorial, then for 3 monumental sculptures for the garden of a Trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, and had a glowing essay written about him by The Former Assistant Director of New York's Guggenheim titled "Magister Ludi" (Games Master.)
In 2008 A Gallery gained a £150,000 sponsorship to put on a show for Thomas Ostenberg in the heart of London. One of the people to recieve the invitation for that Pall Mall show was the Director of Glyndebourne (The UK's premier summer Opera) who invited Thomas Ostenberg to be their selected sculptor that year (in 2005 the sculptor was Anthony Gormley.) Also Wilfred Cass, the owner of the most famous sculpture park in the UK - The Cass Foundation (previously Sculpture at Goodwood) received the invite and put him onto the sculpture program for the 2012 London Olympics (as mentioned in The Times) as well as placing his largest sculpture, the 3 meter "But, I Feel Fine" in the grounds of his sculpture park with the most famous sculptors in the world.
Thomas Ostenberg's artist statement
Striving for a sense of harmony, even in the most uncertain of circumstances, inspires me to make sculpture. I aim to stimulate emotions, feelings and the imagination. I want to create an atmosphere conducive to achieving a sense of well-being, happiness and joy. My work is figurative but it is meant to be metaphorical, not simply representational. In attempting to achieve a spiritual balance in my life and work, I look for alternatives to the self-absorption, materialism and cynicism that often seem prevalent in society. I try to focus on the metaphysical rather than the evidence of the physical world.
My sculpture is somewhat autobiographical. I left a successful financial career to pursue the creation of art when I became disillusioned with the purposelessness of accumulation. I discovered that thought, when acted upon, is transformative and very powerful. In my search for equilibrium in precarious situations (be they emotional or economical), a moment of significant radical insight, brought about - not by a modification in material circumstances - but by a simple change in thought and the way those circumstances were perceived, revolutionized my life.
I think of art as a form of language in which there are two simultaneous dialogs. There is the dialog of creation, which takes place between the artist and the object of his efforts. The artist's motivations are essential to the creative process resulting in a successful work of art but these motivations may or may not be evident to the subsequent viewer. This dialog usually disappears with the passage of time.
The second dialog takes place between the art object and the viewing audience. This depends on both the ability of the object to stimulate a reaction in the viewer and the personal history the viewer brings to the experience. Great art emotionally moves people. It contains honesty in both conception and execution that comes from deep within. Before Alta Mira, through out time, the greatest art has been used to communicate man's most urgent messages. These messages are usually not clever, cynical or selfish but come from the deepest reaches of the soul.
My creative motivation stems from a search for perfection. Spirituality, I believe, is key to the further evolution of mankind. It took millions of years to evolve from amoeba to the ascension from the apes. Subsequent evolution will require the repudiation of basic animalistic instincts (formerly necessary for self-preservation in a hostile environment). In exchange, the human spirit must express more elevated qualities emphasizing harmonious interrelationships among individuals, cultures and philosophies. This development, like that of technology, will occur at an accelerated pace as it is demonstrated that aggression, in all its forms, is too dangerous for our long-term survival.
In its investigation of micro-physics/nano-technology, science is discovering that seemingly solid material objects are composed of relatively vast empty spaces surrounding ever smaller energized particles. It has also been established that an optimistic, spiritually oriented mental attitude can overcome disease and ill being. This underpins my belief in the insignificance of materiality and that Spirit (Love) is the most powerful force available to man. Historically, the most admired individuals have always demonstrated an extraordinary level of selflessness, compassion and understanding of basic goodness. Those that we most revile embodied the opposite.
I too wish to communicate through my art. I want to stimulate emotions and establish an atmosphere that allows the viewer to feel and experience art they might find meaningful. With much contemporary art irony, cleverness and pessimism are promoted as being profound, intelligent and realistic. In many cases the dialogue is inward looking, engaging only an elite group that considers the public as too naive to understand. I want my sculpture to commune with the general observer. Although the philosophy I have chosen to convey is sadly under represented in the serious contemporary art arena, I feel it is essential to try to awaken a sense of joy in those who view my work by making what I hope are beautiful objects. In this way the work may contribute to improving someone's existence, even if only fleetingly.
Bronze, Over 3 meters high each
Commissioned by a Trustee of The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
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