John Olt (1926-2008) was a master of form whose carvings and castings of the human figure, birds, and animals recall the work of Henry Moore, an artist he greatly admired. For nearly fifty years, he created sculptures in alabaster, stone, bronze, plaster, wood, and fiberglass. His life journey was punctuated by interesting twists and turns that permitted him to utilize his immense talent in making three dimensional objects, first for the automobile industry, then for several early NASA space missions, and later in making prosthetic devices for children with brain disorders.
When working on sculptures in natural materials, such as stone, wood, and alabaster, Mr. Olt allowed the material to influence the form of the final work. He said that nature gave him a shape in stone or wood, and he adhered to that shape, even if it meant distorting anatomical proportions. His works in steel and bronze have a more open style, meaning that the form was not predetermined by the intrinsic qualities of the material.
Mr. Olt received his BFA at the Dayton Art Institute in 1953. The largest public art project he completed was a 48-foot long wood relief for the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital in Los Angeles. He has sculptures at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, Cuesta College, Paso Robles Library, Kettering Hospital and Kettering Home Museum, and the Dayton Art Institute Museum.
Donated by Martha S. Olt.