Working with materials that can weigh up to several tons, sculptor Richard Deutsch applies artistry and technology as he pushes the physical limits of his materials and creates gravity-defying art works in the process. In the episode, “Engineering of Art,” Spark visits Deutsch in his studio and at the worksites of his latest projects as he creates works that will outlast us all.
Born in 1953, Deutsch holds a BFA in fine arts from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Working with granite, bronze, fiberglass, and repurposed materials such as industrial objects, Deutsch uses solid media to explore the fluid themes of form, movement, space, and human interaction. As he designs and creates abstract sculptures for both public and private commissions, Deutsch’s finished works range from small studio pieces to monumental outdoor installations.
Spark tags along as Deutsch works on two of these monumental installations, one a fiberglass piece commissioned by Pineapple Sails, and the other, a larger-than-life granite stone sculpture for a private residence in Napa Valley. At Pineapple Sails, Deutsch utilizes the same ultra-light material the sailing company uses to create the hulls of its racing boats to create two 15 foot by 15 foot fiberglass pieces, which, with the help of a crane, are mounted in an outdoor display. At his project site in Napa, Deutsch, inspired by Italian ruins, creates a sculpture of rough-hewn granite slabs from Yosemite, entitled “Seven Stones.” Deutsch wants “Seven Stones” to evoke mystery like a contemporary Stonehenge, with the hopes that in several years viewers will ask, “How did this get here?”