Robert Byron Gottschall is a master sculptor of wood, stone and bronze. For over 50 years, he has developed innovative carving techniques to create artwork that bridges past to present and spiritual to physical. His abstract wood and stone work differs from his representational bronze work so that at first glimpse it may seem to be from different artists entirely. But further exploration into Gottschall’s biography and the sources of inspiration he feeds from, reveal an artist with unwaning passion and versatility creating a genuinely original body of work.
Gottschall was first inspired by the Eastern art and culture he witnessed growing up in Japan and Taiwan, motivating him to begin carving at age eight. After studying art and gemology at the University of Texas at Austin, he went on to train with master sculptors of wood, jade, marble, and bronze. Further study of ancient cultures, religion, spirituality, mythology, and nature’s oracles, led him to develop a range of carving techniques as vehicles for exploring the connection of organic art and transformational mythology.
Black walnut is his wood of choice, which he hand harvests to find the very best shapely burls . Gottschall brings complex stories to the surface of the living fabric of the wood, while the sculptures he carves in marble, alabaster and soapstone reflect ancient universal images of Mother Earth and Father Sky, connecting us to our source. Not limited to carving wood and stone, he often uses traditional sculpting techniques in wax to create representational bronze sculptures.
This range of skills allows Gottschall to veer from the traditional into the nontraditional, and over the decades he has developed innovative techniques he calls Fusion and Grand Fusion blending bronze, wood and stone. Creating a unique genre of sculpture, he integrates biological, planetary and universal imagery in search of the metaphysical thread that unites it all.
“By lifting my preconceived notions of design, each piece of wood, stone and wax guides my hand to carve its stories.” Gottschall brings layers of design to life by telling the multivalent stories, past and present, of the material he is working through a profoundly sensitive and often spiritual human voice. While his sculptures certainly ’speak for themselves’, their vitality and significance are enriched by the viewer’s interaction with them.