Professor Gary Wertheimer will be representing The University of Olivet in Kellogg Community College’s new sculpture garden with his piece Great Blue Heron (pictured right). The 2001 bronze sculpture on a granite pedestal will be displayed in a new garden area at the Davidson Art Building on the Battle Creek campus. KCC learned about Wertheimer’s piece through their ceramics instructor, Pete Williams, a longtime colleague of Wertheimer. Bronze, granite, marble and limestone are a few of Wertheimer’s materials of choice. He enjoys crafting materials in a way that cleverly suggests the subjects they are meant to portray.
Wertheimer, originally from Brooklyn, New York, graduated from Brooklyn College with a bachelor’s in art in 1974. In the summer of 1973, he attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine where he met visiting sculpture instructor Philip Grausman.
From 1974 to 1984, Wertheimer worked as an assistant to Grausman in Washington, Connecticut. It was there he learned the traditional techniques of bronze casting, metal finishing, repoussé and stone carving. In 1984, he received a two year teaching assistantship from the University of Michigan where he earned his Masters of Fine Arts degree in sculpture. He has been teaching sculpture, two dimensional design, art appreciation and liberal arts cores courses at The University of Olivet ever since.
The universal struggles of birth, life and death are the primary motivations for Wertheimer’s realistic sculptures. He draws inspiration from commonplace activities in the animal and plant kingdoms and re-presents them as visual metaphors for our own lives; in doing so, he joins the catalog of image-makers from virtually every epoch and culture that sought to affirm the bond between human beings and the natural world around them. The process of conceptualization, particularly the challenge of marrying media to subject, is one that Wertheimer finds both alluring and demanding.