Story by Micah Oelze
Courtesy Photos Provided
The Shafer Gallery will host an opening reception for its upcoming exhibit “ZWEYGARDT” from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Shafer Gallery. “ZWEYGARDT” features sculptures created from various materials by Kansas native Glenn Zweygardt. The reception will feature refreshments and a gallery talk by Shafer Gallery Director Dave Barnes.
Zweygardt was born and raised in St. Francis, located in northwest Kansas. He grew up on the family farm which has a rich history originating in the 1880’s. Zweygardt still owns the family farm along with his sister to this day. Growing up on a farm, his dad taught him arc welding at an early age to help with repairs. Later in life, the skill of arc welding would become a great asset for his artwork. Zweygardt attended Wichita State University (WSU) where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Painting. From his time at WSU, he concluded his passion lay with sculpture and began to chase his dream with encouragement from his mentor.
“One pivotal person in Kansas was Mira Merriman who was the Professor of Renaissance Art at Wichita State University,” Zweygardt said. “She was very helpful in helping me decide to become a sculptor.”
With the portfolio he developed, Zweygardt was accepted at multiple schools in the east but settled on the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art earning a Masters of Fine Arts in Sculpture.
For more than40 years, Glenn has been an active sculptor and educator. With more than 50 solo exhibitions and multiple purchase awards to his name, he shows works both nationally and internationally. In 2007 he retired from his position as the Professor of Sculpture at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and was named Professor Emeritus. Zweygardt continues to sculpt, now as a full-time artist out of his studio in Alfred Station, N.Y. His creations of steel, ductile iron, stainless steel, cast glass, cast bronze and aluminum are often combined with stone from around the world. His sculptures range from monumental outdoor works to small, intimate pieces.
Barnes said he is excited for the opportunity to showcase the native Kansan’s work.
“The thing is, Zweygardt’s art seems so simple at first, almost childlike,” Barnes said. “Upon reflection, there is a wonderful surreal tension between Zweygardt’s seemingly spontaneous, sometimes ephemeral, forms and his use of memorialized materials such as bronze and stone. It is a pleasure to experience such confident conception and execution knowing the career-long struggle it represents. We are pleased to have work of such merit and sophistication in the Shafer Gallery and grateful that Ron Micheals and the Sandzen Gallery in Lindsborg invited us to help share it with the folks of central Kansas.”
When looking at Zweygardt’s art, the viewer will notice both organic and geometric forms within his sculptures. With his use of stone, metal, and glass the organic factors are intensified creating a complex idea. This is then balanced with simpler geometric forms providing a sense of stability. These forms in some pieces help to create an homage to growth. This homage, however, isn’t the theme of his artwork.
"The theme of my sculpture is the placement of myself in relation to nature. While working in materials such as metal, stone and glass, I am telling three-dimensional stories that capture my life experiences immersed in my perception of a collective consciousness,” Zweygardt said. “It is my intention that these stories, spoken through an expression of form, texture and color, will enter into human consciousness and the fourth dimension.”