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 Gib Singleton  (1936 - 2014)

About: Gib Singleton
 

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Lived/Active: New Mexico/Illinois/Missouri / Mexico      Known for: religious abstract figurative sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is the obituary of the artist, submitted by John Goekler, representative of the Gib Singleton Museum of Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
 

Gib Singleton
 
Gilbert Jerome “Gib” Singleton, one of America’s foremost artists and the man who created the genre of “Emotional Realism”, passed February 28 at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Singleton’s work is held in the collections of the Vatican, Yad Vashem, the Museum of Biblical Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The first monumental versions of his Fourteen Stations of the Cross were installed at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis in Santa Fe.
 
Singleton served in the US Army as a tank commander, earned a degree in art education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, then won a full scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago. He earned a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. In Florence, he helped restore artworks damaged by the Arno floods and was later recruited by the Vatican Workshop, where he helped to restore priceless paintings and sculptures, including Michelangelo’s Pieta after it was vandalized in 1972.
 
Gib Singleton was born in Kennett, Missouri in 1935 to a family of sharecroppers. As a child of three, he began to draw with sticks in the dirt and sculpt figures from mud and straw. He won his first blue ribbon for art at the state fair at age nine and was soon selling pencil portraits to friends and neighbors. He became fascinated with bronze as a medium and built his first foundry from scrap when he was 16.
 
After his time in Europe, Singleton headed the sculpture department at Fairfield University, then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 2004 he was committed to hospice with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and told he had only six days to live.

He refused to accept that prognosis and though confined to a wheelchair, he worked nearly another decade. During that time he create many of his most noted works, including The Dove, Saint Francis, Lincoln, The Death of Christ, the Fourteen Stations of the Cross, Aces and Eights and his own Requiem.
 
Near the end of his life, Singleton said there were two things he hoped people would remember him for.
 
First was bringing the term “Emotional Realism” into the art world. He believed the feelings a piece of art evokes are just as real as the piece itself or the museum in which it hangs, and that the ability to evoke powerful feelings is the mark of great art. “What matters about art isn’t how it looks,” he said. “It’s how it makes us feel. THAT it makes us feel. That it gets our attention and draws us in and opens us up. And in a world where so much of the stuff going on around us just hurts and makes us numb, that’s a damn good thing.”
 
Second was helping to bring spiritual art into the mainstream in America. “People need security in the metaphysical world even more than in the physical world,” Singleton said. “There are a lot of things that make no ‘objective’ sense if we try to analyze them. Yet they do make sense – a great deal of sense – if we approach them with our hearts instead of our heads. That’s how I try to work.”
 
Singleton leaves behind a long list of family and friends, devoted collectors and fans, and spiritual leaders who all came to love not only his amazing art, but also the humble cowboy who created such powerful pieces.
 


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Showing art talent from the time he was a child, Gib Singleton is a sculptor in bronze of works that have spiritual and religious connotations including Adam and Eve and the Apocalypse.  He says that he "creates his work to show people how valuable life is and how it is important to appreciate what you have." (86)

Source:
American Art Collector, May 2006, pp. 88-87

The artist resides in Santa Fe, new Mexico.

Biography from Galerie Zuger:
Gib Singleton’s sculpture is arguably the only artist ever to be represented simultaneously in the disparate permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Vatican Museum and the State of Israel, whose large collection of his art was a bequest of Prime Minister Golda Meir.

Today, Pope Benedict XVI carries his crosier with a sterling silver cross at the top, which was designed by Gib Singleton and previously carried by Pope John Paul. Another of his crosses rests next to the Shroud of Turin. Years ago, when Michaelangelo’s Pieta was vandalized in the Vatican Museum, Gib was asked to assist in the restoration process.

Singleton was born in 1935 in Kennett , Missouri.  He grew up on his father’s farm during the Depression years and was the second youngest of five siblings.  In 1940, his family relocated to Granite City, Illinois, where his father worked at Granite City Steel.  He graduated from Granite City High School in 1955.  His talent is backed by an education at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he majored in Art Education and received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree.  He also attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Singleton briefly taught high school in the town of Alton, Illinois, prior to attending the Art Institute of Chicago.  While attending the Art Institute of Chicago, he won a Fulbright Fellowship at the Belle di Arte Academy in Florence, Italy, where he also worked for six months as a staff artist to the Vatican.  In 1966, at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, he assisted with the restoration of centuries-old flood damaged art in Florence.  He is a sculptor in the tradition of Rodin and Donatello and has often been compared with Giacometti.  He has also obtained a Doctorate in Greek Mythology and Theology at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

A major piece of the artist’s bronze, created at age 23, hangs in Yad Vashim Memorial in Jerusalem, Israel.  Other bronzes are on display in The Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy; the National Art Museum, Tel Aviv; the Holocaust Museum; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Museum of Natural History, New York; the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK; the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs, CO; De Benche Fine Arts, Florence, Italy; the Belle Di Art Academy, Florence, Italy; the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Manchester, NH; Sigleton-Biss Museum of Fine Art; Yad Vashim Memorial, Jerusalem; Wornick Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; El Santuario de Chimayo, NM; International Olympic Committee Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland; United States Olympic Committee Museum, Colorado Springs, CO;American Sports Art Museum, Dapne, AL;
and Strake Jesuit College Preparatory Art Museum, Houston, TX

Gib Singleton has two daughters—Shelly and Sherri.  Shelly has followed in her father’s footsteps and is a sculptress as well.

Biography from American Design Ltd.:
Gib Singleton is likely unique as a sculptor as he is perhaps the only artist to have his work represented simultaneously in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Vatican Museum and the State of Israel (whose large collection of his art was a bequest of Prime Minister Golda Maier).  Pope John Paul carried his crosier with a bronze cross at the top, which was designed by Gib Singleton.  Another of his crosses rests next to the Shroud of Turin.  Years ago, when Michelangelo’s Pieta was vandalized in the Vatican Museum, Singleton was asked to assist in the restoration process.

Gib Singleton was born in Kennett, Missouri.  He studied at Southern Illinois University and the Art Institute of Chicago where he won a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy.  While there, at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, he assisted with the restoration of centuries-old flood damaged art in Florence.  He has also studied for his doctorate in Greek Mythology and Theology.


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