Phoenix, 1997, bronze (from oak and cherry), 5.8 feet high x 10 feet wide x 7.5 feet long/1.7 meters high x 3 meters wide x 2.2 meters long
The thrust of American sculptor Tom Doyle’s work—both figuratively and physically—is the desire to suspend forms in space, sustained by just three supports. Although his works range in size from eight inches to fifteen feet, they share the same principle of lift, as if buoyed by the artist’s struggle to achieve weightlessness, or even flight. Doyle uses a Sperber two-man sawmill to carve trees that he fells himself. He devises the final shape of his sculptures after establishing a support structure.
During his artistic education at Ohio State University and later in New York City, Doyle was formatively influenced by Abstract Expressionism and the artists of diverse European backgrounds who contributed to it. Many of his works express lyrical themes through his use of rough wood and stone with place-name titles that speak of his ancestral Ireland—a nostalgia for the land often shared by diaspora cultures with histories of dispossession and displacement. His structures are often intended for specific outdoor locations, echoing the seamless landscape and open to the wind. Most of the artist’s wood sculptures are cast in bronze, then painted to resemble the wood they came from.
Tom Doyle is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1982; a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Award in Sculpture, 1990–1991; an American Academy of Arts and Letters Jimmy Ernst Award in Art, 1994; and was elected a member of the National Academy in 1997. In 2014 he received the Art Purchase Program for Sculpture Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
His works are installed at the New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut; Queens College, New York; Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, Chester, Connecticut; and the Jean Widmark Memorial, Roxbury, Connecticut.
Born in Jerry City, Ohio, 1928 | Lives and works in Roxbury, Connecticut