Sculptor Marty Goldstein visits Vail Gallery Art on a Whim on Friday | VailDaily.com

Sculptor Marty Goldstein visits Vail Gallery Art on a Whim on Friday

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"Charlie," by Marty Goldstein.

VAIL — Playful only begins to describe the work of sculptor Marty Goldstein. The bronze dogs that make up his "Harvey Dogs" series are full of personality. Every single piece is sculpted with one purpose: to bring laughter and joy to the lives of the people who collect his work. If a piece doesn't bring a smile to his lips while he is sculpting the clay form, it doesn't get put through the arduous lost wax process to be cast in bronze.

"Look at a whimsical dog and for the moment you forget about the ills of the world, politics and other not-so-nice things," Goldstein said.

Art is meant to strike an emotional response in its viewers. Goldstein's work does just that. The quizzical faces, soulful eyes and playful poses of his pieces immediately disarm people and bring them right to the innocent, care-free moments of playing with their furry companions. For Goldstein, it takes him back to his childhood, which he spent with two adoring Irish setters.

A SECOND CAREER

It seems that Goldstein was always meant to sculpt. It took him 66 years to make it happen, however. He endured the rigors and stress of the corporate world, all the while telling his wife, Barbara, that she needed to remind him to sculpt upon his retirement. She had been told that most retired guys just get in the way of their wives after wrapping up their careers, so Goldstein knew he better find something to do with himself.

At Barbara's urging, he took a series of sculpting classes at the local art center. From there, a series of 130 limited-edition bronze sculptures was born and a new career was launched.

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Goldstein has since garnered international acclaim for his creative work. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum even has a piece modeled after the president's Scottish Terrier, Fala.

When Goldstein begins a new sculpture he isn't quite sure where it's going. Each piece can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete. Add in the several months it takes to transform the sculpted piece from clay to bronze, and it's easy to understand it's a collection that has taken years to amass.

GOLDSTEIN'S PROCESS

Every piece begins with Goldstein's determination as to the size and pose that he will form. The facial characteristics and priceless expressions are always saved for last. While the perfectly smooth forms and exaggerated features of his dogs comprise a great deal of the work, it is the details that truly bring the sculptures to life. They bring a unique personality to each piece, whether it be in the appearance of inquiring eyes or silly wrinkles. His piece "Sylvester" stands perched in the downward dog position, ready to play with every willing passerby. With his head cocked to the side, he seems to always be asking if you are ready to bounce around the room with him. The contented look on the face of "Charlie" compliments his oversized droopy ears, showing one easy going and happy puppy. Each large piece has bright gold toe nails. Why? Just to add a bit of the sparkle that dogs add to our lives. The bulk of Goldstein's work is not specific to any breed. Rather, he seeks to capture the essence of innocence and beauty that all canines possess.

Goldstein will make appearances in the Art on a Whim galleries in Vail and Breckenridge this weekend. The joy he brings to the world through his happy "Harvey Dogs" is always on display in the galleries but this weekend Goldstein will add his ebullient and humorous personality to the viewing experience.

"Whimsical dogs remind me that life sometimes gets too serious and that we need a release," he said. "Funny looking dogs do that for me."

His work provides a bit of that medicine for the rest of us, too.

If you go …

Who: Sculptor Marty Goldstein.

What: View Goldstein’s collection, meet the artist and learn about the inspiration behind the work.

When: Friday afternoon in Vail, Saturday afternoon in Breckenridge.

Where: The Art on a Whim galleries, 227 Bridge St. in Vail & 100 N. Main St. in Breckenridge.

More information: 970-476-4883, artonawhim.com.