It was during a summer job at Shidoni Foundry in Tesuque, New Mexico that Gilberto Romero became enamored with bronze. Romero put plans to go to college on hold so he could continue working at Shidoni and exploring his new found passion.
“I knew I wanted to do something in art when I was in junior high school,” Romero recalls. “I found I could express myself easier in bronze than through other media.”
“Premiering,” Romero’s new show at Winterowd Fine Art, features more a dozen sculptures that reflect the artist’s love of the outdoors. Using bronze and locally-sourced stones, Romero sculpts birds and organic forms that remind him of what he sees in the woods when he is bow hunting, fly fishing, camping and hiking.
“I’m a huge outdoorsman,” he explains. “The outdoors constantly inspires me. I often bring stones and pieces of wood back with me from camping trips.”
After working at Shidoni for more than a year, Romero spent a decade doing finish work for three New Mexico sculptors-Gino Miles, Peter Woytuk and Estella Loretto-while creating his own pieces. “They gave me honest feedback and the confidence to go for it,” he says. “I learned how to trust my own eye.”
Romero prefers to use a variety of chemical patinas on his bronzes rather than choose one and stick with it. “I’ve been criticized for my patinas,” he adds, “because some people think I should pick one style for better name recognition. But it’s just not in me to stick to one thing. And besides, when I put patina on a bronze, there’s always a slight difference between how it appears on the bottom of the piece versus the top. Each piece ends up looking unique.”