A landscape of rural water towers fills Bruno David Gallery’s Window on Forsyth. In Our Town is sculptor Christina Shmigel’s first show with the gallery since she repatriated to the US in 2017. After 14 years of living in Shanghai, China, Shmigel marks her return to St Louis with a new series of sculptures based on an iconic image of the American landscape, the water tower. Composed of interlocking planes of slotted sheet steel, the sculptures in the Window on Forsyth are the latest incarnation of a form that Shmigel has addressed numerous times over the course of her 30-year career.
Whether adorning a building in NYC or marking a town along an interstate highway, the water tower has a strong hold on the collective imagination of Americans. As it stands alone in the distance, the tower speaks to a traveler’s sense of loneliness, to a sense of the stranger-passingthrough. The water tower also announces the existence of a community and marks a place of settlement. As an image, it immediately triggers memories. Dear, familiar, half-forgotten: there’s always a story about the water tower “in our town…”
After completing a BFA (1980) in painting at RISD, Shmigel trained as a sculptor, earning an MFA (1987) in Sculpture from Brooklyn College & an MFA (1993) in Metals from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She was Associate Professor of Sculpture at Webster University (1995-2005) and continues to teach, frequently at the Penland School of Crafts in NC. Shmigel’s exhibitions include installations for the St Louis Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Duolun Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai, The Ukrainian Museum in NYC, the Ukrainian Institute for Modern Art in Chicago and the Penland School of Crafts. She is represented by Bruno David Gallery in St Louis.