This article by Susan Ellis appeared in The St Croix Source.
In a community boasting a large number of accomplished artists, a world-class bronze sculptor is moving in to add his name to the list – first with a gallery reception Sunday at his home in the historic back streets of Frederiksted.
Ward Elicker and his family moved to St. Croix in September from Philadelphia with more than 20 life-sized sculptures and the materials to open a studio. They moved into a renovated historic building formerly known as the Prince Street Inn, renamed Jasmine Manor.
The Jasmine Manor gallery occupies the top floor of what was once the Danish Lutheran parsonage on Prince Street. The building surrounds a quiet courtyard and the afternoon light on Sunday backlit the graceful, athletic motion of Elicker’s statues.
The pieces, all for sale, are titled to fit the form. “Pulse” is a contorted body reminiscent of a ski jumper or a skateboarder in flight. “Dusk,” “Dawn,” and “Cirrus” are lithe bodies in what could be extreme yoga poses, celebrating nature.
“Pig man,” was a sculpture created 20 years ago while the artist lived in Puerto Rico and operated a foundry in the rain forest. During that time, he was called the “Man of Bronze,” by the San Juan Star and El Nuevo Dia newspapers. He is known for the large statue, “Ponce,” in front of the Banco Popular in San Juan.
Elicker graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1992 and has been working in clay and metal ever since. At one time he had his own foundry in Philadelphia, with more than 30 employees who worked with boiling hot metal and giant molds. His “Four Pearl Dragons,” large, twisting green sculptures, elevated on thin poles, welcome visitors to Philadelphia’s China Town.
In the past, Elicker has worked mostly with architects and artists with installations as far away as Australia. He said he came to St. Croix to live in the Caribbean again and to complete a full circle. He began with basic sculpture and molds in a studio and expanded to a full-scale foundry and now back to studio work. His goal is “ a creative clay studio.”
“Back to strong studio time. That is what St. Croix is for me,” Elicker said.
Most creations have been silicone bronze or aluminum, weighing hundreds and thousands of pounds. His sculptures now will be life-size or smaller instead of the large, intricate works such as the aluminum “Blobs” or the metal floor inlay at the Miami International Airport.
Life on the island will slow his pace and change the Elicker’s work format. After creating sculptures in clay and making plastic molds, he will have his work metal cast in Asia, Thailand or Florida. Operating a foundry is not time nor cost effective, Elicker said.
Eventually, the sculptor hopes to bring friends and peers to the island and offer classes.
Alice Holm, his wife, is also an artist. She has worked with him in the studio and foundry and sculpted one of the metal pieces on display.
For the original report go to http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2014/12/14/world-renowned-sculptor-opens-frederiksted-gallery