Ostenberg, Thomas

“No Time for Nonsense” Bronze, Edition of 8, 120 x 120 x 32 inches

“No Time for Nonsense” Bronze, Edition of 8, 120 x 120 x 32 inches
Picture 1 of 11

American Contemporary

Thomas Ostenberg was born in Nebraska, grew up on a ranch in Colorado and spent his teenage years between Colorado and Palm Beach, Florida. At an early age he learned of the grace, form and psychology of the animals he was surrounded by, both domestic and wild.

He studied languages at Principia College then earned a MBA degree from Stanford University. He entered the international financial world where he became a Vice President of Citibank in Brazil and Spain. In 1986 he went freelance as an independent International Financial Consultant.

View a Complete Gallery of Tomas Ostenberg’s work

At age 40, Ostenberg exchanged his successful financial career for art school. He earned a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute followed by a MA from the Royal College of Art in London aided by a grant from the Henry Moore Foundation.

Now a full time sculptor, he claims his biggest break was “discovering that I wanted to be an artist”. Ostenberg maintains this change was precipitated by “fifteen years of seeing great art on three continents”. In particular he cites a major Velazquez exhibition in Madrid and a visit to the Rodin Museum in Paris.

He works primarily in bronze. The power and durability of his finished pieces belie his approach to the medium, which is quite fluid and intuitive. “Sometimes I will have a bit of clay or wax in my hand, and, by playing with this lump, some image or other just begins to appear.”

For his large scale works he will have a specific image in mind to represent an emotion he hopes to convey. Using his hands and later, clay tools, he defines the image. “I alternate between building up and carving back until I achieve a result I am satisfied with.”

Ostenberg’s sculptures explore the theme of motion and balance. His work reflects his personal search for emotional and spiritual equilibrium. For him, the work “touches on the moment of stepping into the unknown and doing so willingly.”

Critics (some pretty hard-nosed ones at that) have called his work joyfull, uplifting and magical. Ostenberg’s sculpture has been described as statement sculpture, is memorable, appealing to a wide range of viewers, as is the best of public art.

The works contain human figures and/or frequently horses on a variety of ladders, wheels and spheres, performing acrobatics and balancing acts much like those associated with the circus. This is not to say that his sculptures are frivolous or trivial. On the contrary, what may at first appear only as a feat intended to entertain is, at a deeper level, a wonderous allegory full of hope, strength, stamina, determination.

The titles of Ostenberg’s sculptures (Mind Over Matter, In Search of a Clearer Understanding) give a sense of positive action that results in personal and, therefore, public benefit, and an understanding of life as a gift rather than a predicament. The sculptures themselves depict feats of enormous physical control and extraordinary mental focus. To view them is to experience triumph over contemporary malaises such as nihilism and despondency, to receive a message of calm amidst chaos – and ultimately, to feel joy in the pursuit of knowledge and truth.

He divides his time with his two sons between Santa Fe, New Mexico and London. He also retains strong ties with Brazil and France where they maintain homes.


Thomas Ostenberg Featured in Chisholm Gallery Ad

Elite Equestrian Magazine Featured Artist July 2014 | Thomas Ostenberg