University Museums

Title: Left-Sided Angel
Name: Sculpture
Date: 1986
Medium: Cast Bronze
Dimensions: 103 x 30 x 32 in. (261.6 x 76.2 x 81.3 cm)
Signed: the back side of the base of the piece itself
Marks: Artist's signature is at rear, base of bronze sculpture. DE STAE BLER C 1986
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Commissioned by the Iowa Art in State Builidngs Program for Parks Library, with additional support for Iowa State's Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Location: Iowa State University, Parks Library
Object Number: U86.444
More Information
Unlike many other images of celestial beings, Left-Sided Angel is unconventional and unique. Roughly formed with only one wing, the angel's body is incomplete, as if in the process of creation or possibly destruction. With the right leg and arm missing, the angel appears battered and bruised. Like many of his sculptures, Left-Sided Angel represents DeStaebler's perception of the human condition: the antagonism, vulnerability and pain of our humanity tempered with the yearning for wholeness, intellectual and spiritual growth and quiet dignity.
The precariousness of humanity on earth is a theme that runs consistently through DeStaebler's work and is emphasized in Left-Sided Angel. The angel is delicately balanced on one foot, implying a sense of flight. But only the viewer can decide whether it is poised for take-off or touching down after descent. By creating this sense of suspense, the artist asks his audience to experience an emotional reaction to his work.
Left-Sided Angel also speaks of the potential of students and all humanity, despite the ravages of time. His tribute to students is one of strength and hope, as well as a call to accountability. The sculpture reminds students that knowledge gained during their university experience is to be used responsibly.
The fragility of the human condition suggested by Left-Sided Angel contrasts with the modern, high-tech architecture of Parks Library. The sculpture was designed for the space, creating a juxtaposition of geometric and organic forms.