From Mangelsen’s moving tribute to motherhood featuring famous Jackson Hole grizzly bear 399 and her cubs, to conveying the playful spirit and soothing curvilinear shapes of river otters, to the curiosity of a brown bear yearling fishing for salmon, Tom engages us again through a new and impactful way.
“The magic of a photograph resides in its ability to transport viewers to places they dream of inhabiting,” Mangelsen says. “With bronze, you can enhance the experience even more, by allowing the collector to actually feel the raw texture and mass of an animal on the fingertips, to know its form from 360 degrees. What I’m striving for in these works is to reinterpret some of the photographs nearest and dearest to my heart, offering collectors another way for the wildness I savor to dwell in their lives.”
Rip Caswell, the noted American sculptor and foundryman, helped to guide Mangelsen through the meticulous process of modeling in clay, building armatures and then using the lost-wax process to achieve exquisite results in the bronze form. Mangelsen was intimately involved with every step of the transformation, including overseeing the chasing and polishing of his compositions right down to the selection of glistening patinas. All of the bronzes bear Mangelsen’s signature and are numbered according to the order they were poured.
“It’s ironic. A lot of well-known fine art painters and sculptors have used Tom Mangelsen’s photographs over the years as reference material for their own acclaimed works on canvas and in bronze,” Caswell says. “For Tom himself to now be interpreting, in sculpture, the raw emotion of perfect moments he’s previously captured with his camera is extraordinary. So seldom are fine artists able to transcend their primary mediums in a way that gives their subjects added depth and make them interactive. Tom Mangelsen’s explorations of wildlife in bronze elevates him into a truly rarefied category of fine artist.”
By design and to enhance the allure of their collectability, Mangelsen has insisted that the pieces be cast only in small limited editions.