The Art of Metal and Assemblage

By Dawn Aerts

Iron County Today

CEDAR CITY–Jack Seibold likes scrap metal, welding, and a past-time that he describes as a passion for sculpture in stone, metal, or wood. His home is a showcase of work, both inside and out, where any typical day may involve an artistic hunt to find the right mix of forms, angles and elements to suit his taste or inspiration.

“I have to admit, in my youth, I flunked miserably with academics, and worked at everything from a banjo player at Shakey’s Pizza, to restoring furniture and animal control,” said Seibold of the journey that eventually brought him to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art at Stanislaus State University, Turlock, Calif.

But that was just the beginning.

“I had achieved a little success at cartooning, but all of that experience brought me back to school,” said Seibold of an early enlistment in the U.S. Navy and a GI Bill that afforded him money for college. “But, I would have to say that the world of art suited me best.”

During his 20-year teaching career, Seibold led art classes for students in Stockton, Calif., worked in adult education, and taught inmates at a local prison.  Today, he is still discovering the unexplored detours of his art, through the layered, three-dimensional elements of metal sculpture and assemblage.

“There isn’t any one set thing that I decide to accomplish; it’s usually what interests me at the time” he said. “But I’ve become very serious about it, doing the best I can do. You could say, I’ve become a perfectionist when it comes to my work, and enjoy the satisfaction that comes when it’s right.”

That work can be traced to metal art forms of the 1950s:  back then, an expression of modern-life, and urban culture with early examples of metal and “found objects” used among artists like Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso.  It has since evolved as a “cousin” of collage, with fragments,or objects used, but not originally intended as art materials.

Seibold’s passion has likewise evolved, from detailed pencil renderings to the weighty methods of metal assemblage. He first worked on sculptures in marble (stone) and wood, and later discovered a penchant for anything metal and salvage materials.

“I found that I enjoy working with tools, and have a knack for welding, and though the process involves hard metals, they are still malleable, which allows me to reconfigure and revisit them as I choose,” he said.

His work has become more defined and improved over time.  “I am much better now.  There is more depth to the work and I find myself exploring concepts more closely.”

He says the earliest anatomy and (torso) sculptures presented a unique and frustrating challenge.

“I’ve worked on a number of torso’s that took months to complete,” Seibold “The proportions had to be exact.  With stone, there can be mistakes that you can’t undo – but with metals and assemblage…well, you can revisit that, you can repair a piece, fix a feature, and for me it’s got to be right.”

He says salvage parts and visits to a mining camp present a gold mine of materials.

At home, he spends time in the garage, where the art of metal sculpting, welding, forming and assemblage can hold his attention for hours and days.  “Sometimes this past-time becomes one hour, on other days it turns into hours.  But it’s an everyday experience I’m drawn to.”

His world is full of artistic pursuits, from the physical structure he calls “Hidden Agenda” centered on a coffee table, to one of his most recent assemblage works, “Man with Sphere,” that waits patiently for completion.

“In the past, I have loved the process of working with wood,” he said, pointing to one work on the dining room table, with another next to the wall. “But with metals, the focus is on gathering materials, exploring the parts, working with tools and fitting it all together.”

Like his 70 year fascination with fishing, sea bass to fly-fishing, from sun-up to sun-down, Sielbold admits that his passion for sculpture and technique has rarely been fully satisfied.

When he and his wife, Jackie, are not visiting vistas in the Southwest, you will mostly find him kicking things around in the bone yard and figuring out what project he will tackle next.  Like his journey in real-world experience, Seibold looks to find inspiration in scrap-filled yards and tooling for fanciful parts.

“When it comes along it’s got to be right, and I can spend months trying to get there.”


Caption:  Jack Seibold has pursued his passion for sculpture in stone, wood, in metals and assemblage for decades; working as an art teacher in Stockton, Calif., and Carson City, Nev., before settling in Cedar City with his wife, Jackie, in 2002. Seibold’s work will be featured at ArtWorks in a one-man exhibit, “In and Out Steel,” in March 2018.



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