Owl with Open Wings

APRIL 1, 2019 - DECEMBER 31, 2019
Barney Zeitz

Barney Zeitz, a native of Fall River, has lived solely off the sale of his artworks in glass, metals and drawing since 1972. Most of this work has been built on commission for public spaces and private residences across the United States. He is proficient in both leaded and Tiffany techniques, but since 1977, has developed a style of fused and bonded stained glass that is truly unique.

On exhibition in the Narrows is Owl with Open Wings. The forged and welded stainless steel Great Horned Owl is 36″ tall with a 48″ wingspan.

His skills as a welder/fabricator of metals developed over many years of making frames and screens for his glass projects. Since designing and building his studio/ home/ showspace on Martha’s Vineyard, he has fabricated metal furniture, lighting fixtures, trellises and ceremonial objects for the home.

In 1993, Zeitz designed a memorial for the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Providence, R.I. on a competition basis. This design for an outdoor, abstract steel and bronze sculpture measuring 144″ tall was unanimously chosen by members of three organizations. This sculpture was dedicated on November 9, 1993, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, and was the subject of a documentary video by Ian Ellerby.

He has since been commissioned by the Wang Center for Performing Arts in Boston, to design and build a sculpture in metal and glass in memory of Walter Suskind, a Dutch Jew who saved 1200 children during the Holocaust. Barney Zeitz feels that it is his responsibility as a public artist to produce work appropriate to each situation, yet stay true to himself as a contemporary artist.

Zeitz uses all hand forged and direct welding techniques in his metal sculpture. There is no casting involved. Everything is cut from sheets or bars and hammered hot or cold, then welded with either gas or electric welders. He uses hand tools for grinding and polishing.  His favorite material is stainless steel, which he has worked the technique over the years to get amazing results. Stainless steel is a very hard material, but Zeitz has figured out a way, with patience, to get the results he wants. Stainless steel is very durable and has excellent luminescent qualities. It glows in low light situations, like dawn and dusk, making the work more noticeable than bronze at certain times of day.

Zeitz’s newest commission is the Cornerstone Sculpture, which will be located outside of the Government Center in Fall River, MA. The Cornerstone Sculpture will be built with forged and welded stainless steel elements: figures, landscapes, boats, architectural elements and sky using direct welding techniques, similar to Immigrant Memorial at Plymouth Rock. It will cover the corner at street level and stand 9 ft tall and 18 ft running along the ground. There will be a quote inscribed into the stainless steel plate with silicon bronze, similar to Immigrant Memorial:

 To the enduring memory of our ancestors who have enriched this land:

Indigenous peoples, Immigrants, the Enslaved, and Refugees.

Their descendants and newcomers will continue

to build a strong and peaceful community.

Top row: Owl with Open Wings*
Bottom Left: Cornerstone Sculpture/ Government Center, Fall River MA
– sketch
Bottom Middle: Immigrant Memorial at Plymouth Rock detail
Bottom Right: Immigrant Memorial at Plymouth Rock 

*© Clyde Brazil…. All other photos including detail images © Barney Zeitz

Contributions to support the memorial can be made to:
Bristol County Chamber Foundation
200 Pocasset Street
Fall River MA 02721
Memo line: Sculpture for Government Center