The Passage of Time, 1982. Bardiglio marble, 112 x 130 x 58.5 cm.

Michael Esbin: Actions in Stone

Michael Esbin belongs to an outstanding, now mature generation of stone-carving artists, although it must be admitted that this kind of work is not supported as much as it used to be—especially in America. Esbin moved to Italy some 35 years ago in order to embrace the stone carving there. He lives in Carrara, a town famous for its white and blue-gray marbles, making deeply satisfying works in a medium whose depth and richness encourage a way of seeing that results in spiritual, emotional, and intellectual insight. Esbin now travels back and forth between Italy and New York City. He comes from a medical family on Long Island, where his father was an ophthalmologist and his mother, a medical illustrator. Somehow his situation has translated into an attitude of extreme openness—to both art and life—as he transforms the difficulties of living into formally engaging sculptures. Esbin’s outlook is Buddhist, although Buddhism does not inform his works in any obvious way. In the “Tibetan Sun” series, he joins colored pieces of marble into open circles—images of emptiness and eternity in Buddhist art and writing. But whatever effect Buddhism may have had on Esbin, it has not resolved itself into an art that is didactic or literal in its interpretation of Asian thought. …see the entire article in the print version of July/August’s Sculpture magazine.