Sculpture Exhibit at Owsley Museum to Juxtapose Historic, Modern Art

Photo courtesy David Owsley Museum of Art.Photo courtesy David Owsley Museum of Art.

By: Lisa Renze-Rhodes—

MUNCIE, Ind. — This fall, visitors to the David Owsley Museum of Art can see 15 works in metal and stone by American and European masters juxtaposed with 17 recent bronzes from contemporary sculptor Michael Dunbar.

“Continuum: The Art of Michael Dunbar and the Sculptural Tradition” will kick off with an opening reception at 5 p.m. and an artist presentation, “First Person,” at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21 in the museum’s Recital Hall. The exhibition will be on view from Sept. 22 to Dec. 22. Both the presentation and exhibition are free and open to the public.

The 15 historic sculptures from Owsley Museum’s collection are examples of Beaux-Arts, Realist, Cubist and Modernist styles. They represent work by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Daniel Chester French, Edgar Degas, Aristide Maillol, Henry Moore, Jacques Lipchitz, Willem de Kooning, Alexander Calder, George Rickey, Clement Meadmore, Anthony Caro, Tony Smith, Ruth Duckworth and Joel Shapiro.

Dunbar’s creations are from his “Machinist Studies” series, driven by mathematical relationships and machined precision on both a large and small scale. Threading through his sculptures are allusions to clocks, armillary spheres, astrolabes, sextants, compasses or essential components in scientific instruments used in the aerospace industry to chart a course or mark passage in the quest to explore the unexplored.

The exhibition’s comparison between a contemporary sculptor’s works and late 19th- and 20th-century sculpture invites viewers to contemplate the translation and transformation of sources and stylistic elements over time, said the museum’s director, Robert La France. It also presents students with an opportunity to contrast individual styles and explore the history of sculpture through firsthand examination of works of art.

“The selected works reveal both the continuity of the grand sculptural tradition and Michael Dunbar’s distinctive style within the current of modern sculpture,” La France said. “Many contemporary sculptors emphasize their self-conscious break from the art of the past. In contrast, Michael Dunbar acknowledges the continuity of his style from the great masters.”


For more information about the exhibition and the art museum, visit


Lisa Renze-Rhodes is Director of Media Strategy at Ball State University