Five friends/sculptors group show featured at Lightner

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
A Dexter Benedict work

Keuka College’s Lightner Gallery will host an exhibition of works by five area sculptors through March 25.

The Five Friends /Sculptors group show features work by Dexter Benedict, Barron Naegel, Don Sottile, Sam Castner, and Wayne Williams.

An artist’s reception is slated Thursday, Feb. 24 from 4:15-6 p.m. in the Lightner Library. The gallery is open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, noon-11 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

Dexter Benedict

Benedict, professor emeritus of art at Keuka, has created pieces including the 12-foot Lady Justice that sits atop the Ontario County Courthouse, the 19th century-style weather vane that adorns the Penn Yan village office building, and a statue depicting Frederick Ferris and Mary Clark Thompson at F.F. Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua.

He created a bronze eagle commissioned by Board of Trustees member Don Wertman and his wife, Chris, to mark the College’s 100th commencement in 2008, and sculpted the bust of world-renowned artist Yankel Ginzburg that is displayed in the Robert D. and Rebecca Bannan Aben Gallery in Lightner Library.

Benedict’s sculpture and drawings have been featured in numerous solo exhibitions and group shows at regional galleries. One of his most recent pieces, “For Those Who Serve,” was dedicated on Veterans Day at St. Leo’s University in Florida.

Barron Naegel

Naegel serves as assistant professor of art and director of the Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34 at Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC). He earned a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College and a master’s degree in fine art from the University of Michigan.

Don Sottile

Sottile has worked for Rochester artist Wendell Castle as a designer, builder, sculptor, painter, and director since the 1980s. His figurative sculptures are carved in wood or cast in bronze, and depict grace and beauty of the human form. Sottile studied art at the State University College at Buffalo, and University de Siena and Scuola del’Arte in Italy, where he majored in painting and sculpture. In addition to teaching art, he has designed and built furniture for homes and corporations.

Sottile has works ranging in size from 8 inches tall to larger-than-life size. In addition to speculative works created from imagination and choreographed live models, much of Sottile’s work includes commissioned portraits and large public works of prominent people.  

His work can be seen at the Portage Hill Gallery, West End Gallery, The Oxford Gallery, and Delavan Art Gallery.

Sam Castner

Castner, whose studio sits in eastern hills of Keuka Lake, graduated from Alfred University with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. His sculptures are created with found and reclaimed objects, including those found in nature, industrial environments, and recycling facilities. He works in mixed metals fabrication and finishes, foundry work, and traditional blacksmithing.

His commissioned pieces can be seen across the country and in many publications, and numerous group and solo shows. Castner has been hired to serve as project manager for the Yates County Arts Center in their remodel of the recently purchased Maxwell Building in Penn Yan. In addition, he has signed contracts with Albert Paley and Wendell Castle Studios to fabricate signature pieces of sculpture.

Wayne Williams

Williams, who serves as professor of art at FLCC, concentrates the audience’s focus through a selective absorption in detail. Each of the sculptural forms, usually animals, exhibits an essential characteristic, the conveyance of which defines the sculptor’s success in rendering the object. This characteristic can be conveyed in welded steel or copper.

Williams is known for his life-size bronze piece, commissioned by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial of Greater Rochester and displayed at the Vietnam Memorial Garden at Highland; a life-size sculpture of William E. Simon in the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester; and for his life-size bronze of a Doberman pinscher at Woodcliffe Lodge in Victor. His work is acclaimed nationally and internationally, and he has exhibited throughout the United States and in Belgium, where he lived for several years.

A bust by Barron Naegel