Monday, February 27, 2012

Haliburton Sculpture Forest Submission

(Day 12)

Currently there is an open call underway for a new work for the Haliburton Sculpture Forest :
" The Board of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest announces a competition for a new
sculpture for the Haliburton Sculpture Forest in Glebe Park near the village of
Haliburton, Ontario.

The Haliburton Sculpture Forest is looking for a work of artistic/design excellence
and durability that suits the natural attributes of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest and
addresses the theme “Avian Fauna” (birds of the region)
Proposed sculptures can be representative of specific birds of the Highlands or can
be a work that brings the image of birds to the eye of the viewer.

The sculpture will be located in the Sculpture Forest along walking/cross country
skiing trails adjacent to the campus of Fleming College and the Haliburton School
of The Arts. The trails are used by thousands of walkers and skiers throughout the
year. The Sculpture Forest was started in 2001 and currently has 25 sculptures by
Canadian artists."
Although I have known about this competition for about six weeks, I really had a bit of trouble coming up with a suitable concept for a new work. In connection with my Crafts Project, I did want to use bloom iron as a major component. This is what I came up with:

Title: 'If You Build It - they will come'
Form: bird bath / feeder


Almost any sculpture providing the required durability and longevity for the Haliburton Sculpture Forest needs to be rigid in its construction. How to add movement to such an enduring form? My solution is to attract natural life itself into the sculptural framework. 'If you build it' thus entices the birds themselves to become an ever changing dynamic component of the work.

Gold Finch perched on my 'Glass Disk Hanger'

The central bowl is a irregular shape created from bloomery iron. The Near North region is covered with deposits of naturally occurring bog iron ore deposits. In the Settlement Period (1800's) these deposits were sources to the first iron industries in Ontario, the Marmarra Iron Works a prime example. Thus the primary material of sculpture is related directly to the Region.

Bloomery iron has a distinctive texture and visual appearance quite unlike our modern metals. I am the only artist in Ontario who creates and works with bloomery iron. Bloom iron, due to its low carbon content, will weather slower than modern mild steel. As it does oxidize, the slag occlusions this metal contains will cause it to weather in unusual patterns.
The shallow bowl becomes a natural bird bath, filled passively by rain. It also could be used as a feeder in winter months, attracting wild life.

Bowl forged from Bloom Iron - 2011

The bowl at the heart of the sculpture is held up in a loose basket made of intertwined organic elements. Forged of stainless steel, these pieces will have a light grey colour, contrasting sharply with the dull black of the lower bowl. The uprights are stylized interpretations of two common Ontario road side plants. To one side will be a bundle of gracefully tapering rushes. To the other are a spray of my distinctive 'feather' forms, which are inspired by the reed Phragmites. Balanced against each other, the native plant and the invasive species. Who can say which is more 'natural'?

'Fire at Heart', 2oo8
Use of the 'Feather' element

The base frame of the sculpture will be covered with a loose spray of natural beach stones - gathered from the Region. First are oval, wave polished stones from the Lake Huron shore (Goderich area). The second are fragments of pock marked limestone from Manitoulin Island. If possible, some pieces of the dramatically folded granite from East Georgian Bay would be included.

Manitoulin Limestone - as sculpture base ('Crinoids' - 2012)

Size / Scale

In keeping with the four seasons use of the Sculpture Forest, 'If you build it' is scaled to retain a physical presence even with three feet of snow ground cover. The sculpture has an overall height of about seven feet. The area the sculpture occupies is an irregular oval about 3 1/2 by 3 feet.

The central bowl is an irregular oval shape overall, roughly 18 to 24 inches in diameter, about 6 inches deep. The top edge of this bowl will sit at roughly four feet off the ground.
As well as clearing the snow cover, this placement allows the rough textured lower / outer surface of the bowl to be easily viewed as the observer approaches - through the bulk of the seasons.
The inner surface of the bowl will be ground smooth. Initially this will make a bright surface, which will oxidize differently than the outer surface as time goes by. This difference becomes a visual discovery for the viewer as they approach closely.

The individual curved organic elements vary in height. The top of the lowest will sit at roughly five feet from ground level, extending to closer to seven feet for the tallest. The graceful curves sweep the terminal points inwards, providing a measure of safety. The 'feather' elements will be about 2 - 3 inches wide. The 'rushes' will be about 1 1/2 inches diameter at their widest.

What is above is only an excerpt from the larger detailed description prepared for the submission. If any reading are interested, the total time taken for the layout drawing, researching the costs and preparing the supporting documentation was roughly 10 hours. (If you're wondering where the time goes...)

Image 'Bird on Disk' by Karen Peterson

1 comment:

February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All posted text and images @ Darrell Markewitz.
No duplication, in whole or in part, is permitted without the author's expressed written permission.
For a detailed copyright statement : go HERE