Eben Markowski’s eagle has landed in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — Metal sculptor Eben Markowski of Panton has installed his life-size Pipe Eagle in the garden of the Sheldon Museum in Middlebury, Vermont. The installation occurred just as spring arrived. The eagle was greeted by the members of the Middlebury Garden Club, who plant and maintain the flowers, as well as the newly immersed vibrant red tulips and the colorful buds of the flowering crab apple tree.
Markowski combines the skills of an artist with his passions as an environmentalist, ecologist, and a naturalist. He often sculpts creatures that have been threatened by man — as hunter or by man-made insecticides. Over time and before stringent prohibitive legislation was passed, eagles died from ingesting highly toxic pesticides such as DDT and carbofuran. When reflecting on this cycle, Markowski remarks “The natural world when witnessed takes your breath away, and when carelessly destroyed, ruins any chance we have as a species to continue our existence in a true and honorable manner.”
His Pipe Eagle, perched on a Cedar wood post, serves as a reminder of nature’s fragility, but also its durability when legislators and the citizens heed the warnings of naturalists. Made almost completely from sections of varying sizes of steel pipe, the goal for Markowski was to see how much expression he could tease out of these materials while working with their manufactured curves. His most extensive shaping went into hammer forming the Eagle’s beak. Pipe Eagle has a revolving head which when repositioned lends differing personalities and expressions to the bird.
Markowski sculpts from off-the-shelf hardware and salvaged metal parts. His carefully crafted bird heads, beaks, and talons, demonstrate his artistry, dedication, physical strength, and creativity. Just across the road from the Sheldon Museum, Markowski’s life-size female elephant Gravity commands the terrace of the Middlebury Town Offices. The elephant and the eagle stare at one another across the sidewalks and roadways of Park and Main Streets, enticing entranced visitors. After sculpting Gravity from steel plates and chains, Eben borrowed the basic concept and adapted it to make his perched Pipe Eagle during the summer of 2016.

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