Public art is one of our favorite things about #DowntownCG! Each year, the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri helps facilitate a juried exhibit to find new art for Broadway, and this year, six sculptures were chosen. Watch the video below to see them all virtually and then read each of the artists’ statements about their work.
The Steps of Machu Picchu
James K. Johnson – Charleston, IL
As a sculptor, I have always been concerned with creating works of art that cause the viewer to pause and reflect upon their surroundings and in doing so become more aware of the environment that they are passing though. In addition, each work of art that I have designed and fabricated is a reflection of past experiences that have shaped my life and the interest that I have in ancient cultures, especially the Mayan, Inca and Aztec’s. “The Steps of Machu Picchu” is a reflection of that interest, particularly how the Inca used simple construction materials in their architectural designs to create environments that were an expression of their religious/political beliefs and daily lives. Equally notable was their use of curved walls, niches, rectangular, and irregular shapes in the creation of buildings that featured walls that were slightly inclined on the inside with rounded corners, all of which are reflected in “The Steps of Machu Picchu.”
Here Comes the Sun
Ben Pierce – Cape Girardeau, MO
My work reflects an internal search to discover who I am and how I fit into the world around me. I attempt to create ideas and feelings utilizing geometric and curvilinear design and non-representational shapes. How do you communicate a feeling or memory in a sculpture? This is a question I try to answer visually with the use of strong lines and negative space.
Many of the memories I try to capture and bring to life are from my childhood – namely, my exploration of the natural world and play. I enjoy exploring our relationship with nature – the viewer is very significant to this concept. How the audience reacts and relates to my sculpture is important. Using vertical upright elements of leaning/diagonal orientation creates tension that captures the audiences’ attention. The curves and often circles found in my work become focal points to focus the viewer’s attention, not on the sculpture itself, but what is on the other side – through the “oculus.” This is a way for my work to become part of its surroundings but not compete with it.
Keeping my work simple in design allows it to be more accessible to the audience. Giving them just enough visual information without loading it down with my own agenda. This, hopefully allows the viewer to place themselves into the work and draw from their own memories or imagination and “what ifs…”
Will Vannerson – Pensacola, FL
As I have pursued a life in sculpture, I have developed a distinctive formal idiom that is organic, fluid, and abstract. The intention of my work is draw in the viewer and cause them to take notice of the fascinating physical world they inhabit by way of the exaggerated physicality of sculpture. I want the forms to resonate within the viewer’s own bodily awareness, and to encourage reflection and curiosity. I create tubular, biomorphic compositions whose formal underpinnings include roots, rhizomes, bones, entrails, and Gothic architecture. A fascination with incremental change is written into the work—the pieces suggesting the passage of time acting in conjunction with an internal logic of growth.
The works titled Borbor interpret living bodies as vigorous puzzles of bulging tubes. This name comes from “borborygmos,” a Greek word still used by the medical community to refer to one’s familiar digestive noises. The sound of the title spoken aloud suggests an internal rumble.
Joni Younkins-Herzog – Hyattsville, MD
My sculptures are hybrids, mythologies, and metaphors about plants and relationships. The works range widely in scale from small wearable pieces to large sculptures and installations in many mediums. My search for beauty and purpose manifests into forms that abstract femininity and vitality. Reshaping the body demonstrates my curiosity about science, medicine and the search for human perfection. I look at Nature’s architecture and infinite variety of forms, appropriating aspects of plants and human anatomy with awe, curiosity, mischief and humor. Within my work the human body is displaced retaining ranges of recognizable features-but what remains behind is an interest in the dispersal and fertilization of the feminine mystique.
“Bliss” is based on the beauty of the Fibonacci spiral and a continued personal reference to the oddly proportioned ratio of Barbie’s legs as an architectural and design element. Love her or hate her, the Barbie leg shapes are instantly recognizable and represent a stereotypical canon of beauty My intention was to create a dynamic design that would encourage the viewer to enjoy the elements of positive and negative space and imagine the sensation of a cartwheel.
Andrew Arvanetes – Chicago, IL
Many of my sculptures exist as narratives that examine more serious personal and social issues. “High Steppin,” on the other hand, i s a sculpture that celebrates the lighter side of life. The name comes from the composition of shapes that, if we think of the overall piece as figurative, imply motion in an exaggerated gait. The stride of the “leg” shapes is matched and/or countered by the rocking of the upper “sail” shapes. When these shapes are imagined in motion, the overall object can be seen in a humorous dance.
My favorite comment from a viewer to “High Steppin” was, “That sculpture really moves some air!”
“High Steppin” is fabricated of 10 gauge aluminum sheet and aluminum structural tubing. Its surface is finished with a light grey primer and top coat direct-to-metal acrylic paint. The sculpture measures 114” high x 48”wide x 60” deep and weighs approximately 250 pounds.
My sculptures have always been object-oriented and narrative in nature. I attempt to achieve a connection with my audience by utilizing universal visual details. These details combine with the overall form to create the visual aesthetic. Because of my formal approach to fabrication, rational functionality might be expected. On the contrary, the combination of physical scale, personal references, and visual details often result in a whimsical and absurd reality.
Ascender, Descender, Tractioner
Matt Moyer – Columbia, MO
These works are a continuation of my “Dinosaurs-Small Monuments to Big Machines” series. With my sculptural work, I pay homage to machines; bringing attention to their usefulness, ingenuity, and the people who bring them to life and operate them to their fullest potential. As a native of the Mid-West, agriculture has been a constant throughout my life and in this series, I begin to examine the systems behind the industry. Within this greater agricultural context, I have chosen to explore a specific “system” and form: grain elevators and the conveyor buckets that transport crops and process them. These three sculptures are abstracted interpretations of a grain bucket conveyor system and its various components. Through the abstraction comes a playfulness and the somewhat absurd idea that these machines have a child-like quality and might be having fun performing their work.
Deanna Hoffman – Cape Girardeau, MO
“Decay” is an organic sculpture fabricated out of metal representing the death cycle after life, a normal and expected stage. The sculpture was designed for the artist’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition that showcased other sculptures in the cycle, Life and Rebirth. The piece encourages age, wear and decomposition as its identity and carries a natural rust color. The piece is sturdy and decays stunningly, showing viewers that while death is daunting and inevitable, it is also beautiful and a natural part of the life cycle.
Be sure to check out the sculptures today in Downtown Cape! Share your photos with #DowntownCG2020Sculptures