Mary Lou and Andrew Abruzzese
The Pineville Tavern
Easton, Pennsylvania, artist Karl Stirner, 89, brings new life to metal that has been discarded, whether from Bethlehem Steel, shipwrecks or off the street. He fuses natural materials with manmade, juxtaposes smooth surfaces with rough and pitted ones, and plies the unbendable material to form sensual shapes.
German-born Stirner started his art career at age 23. He was an industrial designer who served in World War II. Stirner held teaching positions at Tyler School of Art at Temple University and at Moore and Swarthmore colleges, although he himself is self-taught.
Stirner’s sculpture was put on hold as he raised a family and pursued other business interests, but the break fueled his drive and since 1985 more than 400 pieces have come from his studio.
A mentor to the Easton artists community, the Karl Stirner Arts Trail has been named in his honor.
‘He is one of our major artists. We are lucky to have had him with us.’ – Poet Gerald Stern
Transformations II: Works in Steel by Karl Stirner at the Michener is a companion to a major exhibition of Stirner’s work at the Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, February 21 – April7, 2013. It is accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by Donald Kuspit.