Sculptor Obie Simonis was raised in the Blue Mountain region of Eastern Oregon and attended Portland State University where he studied sculpture under Frederick Littman and James Hansen. Littman trained under Maillol in the French Romantic tradition of bronze figurative work, and Hansen was a modernist of figurative abstraction with traces of native northwest Indian culture in his symbolism.
After working as an assistant to sculptor John Chamberlain, Simonis had his first solo exhibition at the Neill Gallery in Soho, NY in 1979. In 1980 the Foster/White Gallery, Seattle, mounted a solo exhibition of Obie’s sculpture and paintings. He then received several public art commissions and solo exhibitions were mounted from Seattle to Philadelphia, Boston and NYC.
Obie moved to Massachusetts where he completed large-scale sculptures for the University of Southern Oregon, University of Alaska, City of San Francisco and a large commission for the Republic of Singapore. His steel and acrylic wall sculptures
have been sited in prominent locations such as the Hancock Tower and 53 State Street, Boston.
Recent commissions include exterior public wall sculpture for the Dudley Square Public Library, Boston and a monumental interior sculpture (in collaboration with The Congress Group, Elkus Manfredi Architects and consultant Andrea Marquit Fine Arts) for the lobby 33 Arch Street, in the heart of Boston’s Financial District.
In 2008-9 the Central Square Theater of Cambridge commissioned Simonis to design and fabricate a sculptural gateway and marquee for their new theater on the MIT campus. With its biomorphic and geometric columns, Simonis’s steel sculpture bridges themes of technology and humanity.
Compositions balancing curvilinear and angular forms are at the core of Simonis’s work.