Arts » Visual Arts

Oranje artist profile: Bruce Loewenthal


Work by Bruce Loewenthal — and Bruce himself — will be on display at Oranje. - DAN GROSSMAN
  • Dan Grossman
  • Work by Bruce Loewenthal — and Bruce himself — will be on display at Oranje.

Editor's note: We consider Oranje, celebrating its tenth year, one of the premier arts events of the year, and for us it is an opportunity to get acquainted with a lot of visual artists. Here's a sampling of the kind of art you'll see this year at Oranje, which features almost 40 artists. Say hello to Bruce Loewenthal. (And say hello to other featured Oranje artists here.)

The wall-mounted pieces that Bruce Loewenthal will have on display at the Oranje Festival this year are a subject of debate that he sometimes has with his wife. "In my opinion, they're sculptural first and functional second. In my wife's opinion, they're functional and sellable first and sculptural second," he says.

Loewenthal's hand-designed, wall-mounted sculptures come in a variety of shapes and incorporate media such as ball bearings and scrap aluminum. They can serve as coat racks, wall-hanging shelves, toilet paper holders, towel rods and more.

"I'm really into making stuff," he says. "If I have to elaborate on that, I say what's important to me is making something with meaning."

Originally from Los Angeles, Loewenthal started his own furniture manufacturing business when he was 19 years old. Not long afterwards, he earned a Master's from the Southern California Institute of Architecture. More recently—for the past 28 years — he has been the owner of Silverwood Builders and has built over 300 homes in the Greater Indianapolis area, including in the Village of West Clay in Carmel.

"I'm an architect by training and a little bit of a functional artist on the side," he says. "And I feed my kids and put them through college with Silverwood Builders."

Loewenthal's being "a little bit of a functional artist," however, has grown into a business in its own right and, as a result, he has clients across the continent.

As a functional artist, he doesn't feel like he's a follower of any particular style or trend. But he likes to incorporate conceptual elements in his work that continues to include furniture design and fun stuff like transforming mailbox posts into sculptures.

"Every style is a comment and expression about the world that they live in," Loewenthal says. "I don't believe in replicating a style.... I can value and play with historical elements, styles, attitudes, but I'm definitely going to twist and mutate it."

Loewenthal is excited about going to Oranje this year for another opportunity to show his work. He likes this venue very much because of its quirkiness and its electric atmosphere.

"Last year I had considerably more elaborate and expensive pieces," he says. "And although the response was great, people were partying. After they've consumed all that vodka they don't want to think about how to manage carrying out a rather large piece."

"The goal this year was just to get smaller, more affordable, fun," he says. "It's still me doing my thing, you know?"


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