Sculptor David Stromeyer
May 23, 2022
Wander among artist David Stromeyer’s abstract creations at Vermont’s Cold Hollow Sculpture Park.
Text by Robert Kiener
“I didn’t know steel could do that.” This is the comment that artist David Stromeyer hears time and time again from first-time viewers of his monumental steel sculptures. The trim, tousle-haired seventy-six-year-old smiles as he explains, “I suppose most people think of steel as rigid and stiff, so they are surprised when they see the ways I have worked the steel by bending and twisting it.” He pauses for a beat and continues, “I often say that what I am doing is ‘pushing’ steel and celebrating its plastic qualities.”
From mid-June through early October, visitors to Stromeyer’s 200-acre Cold Hollow Sculpture Park in Enosburg Falls, Vermont, where he lives, works, and exhibits seventy of his sculptures, can walk among the rolling hills and pastures and see for themselves how the artist has seemingly done the impossible. His abstract-expressionist creations swoop, soar, and spark the imagination, all while appearing to be as flexible and pliable as clay. To achieve the desired result, Stromeyer works with heavy-duty industrial tools and machines, such as a 150-ton hydraulic press, to cold-bend and shape the steel.
For inspiration, the artist looks everywhere and absorbs everything, from dance and sailing to caves. But he’s reluctant to delve deeper into the meaning of his works because he wants to give viewers the freedom to experience the sculptures as they wish. What he will admit, however, is his lifelong fascination with the importance of play and the way it fuels his artistic vision. “I am always trying to approach my work with a child’s sense of wonderment,” he explains. “Play is about the total engagement of pursuing what one wants to do with full focus and taking pleasure in the joy it brings.”
Although Stromeyer has been sculpting since 1970, he only recently opened his remote property to the public, where many of the monoliths can be purchased. (For art collectors who might not have the space for a sixteen-foot-tall sculpture, Stromeyer’s small-scale multimedia works can be found on his website.) “My work has always been about generating an experience with the viewer and creating something that will resonate with them,” he says. “The park is a great way to help with that. In fact, for many years, I have thought of my sculptures as individual expressions, but I’ve come to realize that I’ve always been working on one big artwork, which is the park.”