Steve Tobin (born 1957, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American sculptor. Much of his work draws inspiration from nature, and the Christian Science Monitor has described his sculptures as “monuments to the meeting of science and art”.
He studied theoretical mathematics at Tulane University, graduating with a B.S. in 1979, and works from a studio/foundry in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His works have included an igloo fashioned from the windows of M60 Patton combat tanks, and glass cocoons that he hung in a chapel in Antwerp.
In 1993, he created an installation at Retretti in Punkaharju, Finland, an art museum in a series of artificial caves. He filled the caves with tall, “totemic” glass sculptures, and created a “waterfall” from strands of glass. After the exhibition, he ceased to work with glass, stating later that “I retired from glass because I could never top what I did at Retretti”.
Five years later, he gave a show at Fuller Museum of Art in Massachusetts featuring bronze castings of Ghanaian termite mounds; he had become interested in Ghana after having an assistant from the country. In 2002, the Page Museum in Los Angeles gave an exhibition of his work titled “Tobin’s Naked Earth: Nature as Sculpture”, beside the La Brea Tar Pits. The show included the termite mound castings, a metal casting of the root system of a tree, and a sculpture fashioned from bone marrow.
In 2005, Tobin installed what is perhaps his best known work, Trinity Root, at St. Paul’s Chapel in Lower Manhattan, New York City. During the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the chapel had been partly shielded from damage by a 70-year-old sycamore tree. He created a bronze sculpture of the tree’s stump and roots, which now sits in front of the church on the corner of Wall Street and Broadway. Tobin financed the $330,000 sculpture himself, taking out a home equity loan to do so.
For more than a decade, Tobin also worked with exploding small charges in blocks of clay and then firing the results, some of which were featured at the Payne Gallery of Moravian College.
Steve Tobin is represented by Sandra Ainsley Gallery, located in Toronto, the leading contemporary glass art gallery in Canada.