July 29, 2011 |
FRANK BENDER, who helped identify hundreds of victims of violence and bring many of the perpetrators to justice over a long career as a forensic sculptor, was confronted by his greatest challenge that fall of 2000. He had to sculpt a face where there was no face. The skeletal remains of a woman had been found in a wooded area of Manlius, N.Y., a town near Syracuse. The skull was a shell and there was no face. Told it was impossible to create something out of nothing, Bender rose to the challenge.
July 27, 2011 |
Virginia Wells Maloney, 98, a sculptor and volunteer who was active on the local social scene for 60 years, died of pneumonia Tuesday, July 5, at Beaumont, a retirement community in Bryn Mawr. Mrs. Maloney was a member of the Women's Committee of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for more than 50 years and served more than 45 years on the board of the Charlotte Cushman Club, a residence in Philadelphia for actresses on tour. She remained involved after the club became the Charlotte Cushman Foundation in 1999.
May 26, 2011
Stephen De Staebler, 78, a sculptor whose fractured, dislocated human figures gave a modern voice and sense of mystery to traditional realist forms, died May 13 of cancer at his home in Berkeley, Calif. Mr. De Staebler found his medium when he met the pioneering ceramist Peter Voulkos at the University of California in the late 1950s. Impressed by the expressive possibilities of clay, he began making landscape-like floor works. In the late 1970s, he began coaxing distressed, disjointed humanoid forms from large, vertical clay columns.
May 14, 2011
The Woman in the Woods. A skeleton, a leather hair barrette, and some fake fingernails. That's all Frank Bender had to go on. But the famous forensic sculptor crafted a bust that turned out to be his final work in his lifelong quest to bring justice and closure to families of crime victims. Now he wants your help in identifying her. A hunter found her decomposing remains on Dec. 30, 2001, in the woods in Williams Township, Northampton County, off Route 78 outside Easton.
May 14, 2011 |
FRANK BENDER doesn't have much time left. A world-renowned forensic sculptor who's cracked countless cold cases by building busts of unknown murder victims and fugitive killers, the man whose prolific professional life has been all about death is now closer to death himself than ever. Doctors gave him mere months to live when they diagnosed him with pleural mesothelioma in late 2009. But on the eve of another summer he never thought he'd see, the ailing 69-year-old Southwest Center City resident is still a busy guy. Cancer has melted away four of his ribs, pain pills are part of his daily diet, and he needs naps and occasionally a few puffs of oxygen to restore his energy.
March 13, 2011 |
Philly-based forensic sculptor Frank Bender , who is famed for helping detectives ID victims and solve cold cases, is the subject of a documentary now in production. Bender and filmmaker Karen Mintz acknowledge that the film is a race against time. In the fall of 2009, doctors told Bender that his pleural mesothelioma was terminal. Mintz wants him to be able to see the film. Mintz - who met Bender several years ago and followed him as he created his final work, the bust of a woman whose body was found in 2001 near Easton, Pa. - is seeking funding to complete the project.
March 7, 2011 |
A new scholarship this fall at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts honors the late Selma Burke, a Bucks County sculptor whose work is familiar if you've ever studied your change. That picture of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the dime? It bears an uncanny resemblance to a bas-relief that Burke formed of FDR. Until her death 16 years ago at age 94, Burke would tell visitors to her Solebury Township studio of the presidential commission she won over 11 other sculptors. Lewis Tanner Moore, the Warrington collector of African American art, said Burke often recalled the day in 1944 when she unrolled a sheet of butcher paper across the Oval Office and sketched Roosevelt for 45 minutes in charcoal, while reminding him to sit still.
December 9, 2010 |
WEST PHILLY sculptor Clete Shields has been commissioned to create an 8-foot statue of country-music star Willie Nelson to be presented as a gift to the city of Austin, Texas, next year. Shields' previous work, for directors Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez , as well as for the Franklin Mint, captured the eye of Capital Area Statues Inc., the Texas group that commissioned the sculpture. It'll be made of clay, and later cast in bronze. The sculpture features Nelson holding an acoustic guitar.
October 22, 2010 |
After Margaret Davis' teenage daughter disappeared from a Kensington street corner one autumn night in 1979, Davis vowed never to move away or change her phone number, in hopes that one day her child would return. But 16-year-old Jacqueline Gough never came home, and when her body turned up two years later in the basement of an abandoned house, investigators couldn't figure out who she was. Unaware that her daughter had been found, Davis kept her vigil. It was noted forensic sculptor Frank Bender who eventually brought Davis peace.
September 8, 2010 |
Frank Bender lives. This I consider news, since the forensic sculptor wasn't supposed to see summer, let alone gallop into the fall. "Come check out my tan," he teased Tuesday, which seemed as good a reason as any to ditch my leftovers and buy us both lunch from Cafe Lutecia. When Bender greeted me at his South Street home/studio, he looked a bit like Vladimir Lenin in spray bronzer. "I still go up the stairs and run to catch the bus," quipped the energetic Dead Man Walking.