The sculpture is 11’H x 50’W x 25’D
Made of Carved Limestone, Stainless Steel, Rose Quartz Crusher Fines
I was asked to creatively link the Performing & Visual Art Departments at this university. Pythagoras’ discovery of the harmonic mathematic proportions of unison, octaves & intervals in sound creates a leaf-like form, which we then cut from the center of 5 stone blocks. These natural proportions are also used by the visual arts for harmony, thus linking both art departments through this interactive, sculptural environment that all students, faculty and visitors can perform in, exhibit sculpture within and explore for many years to come.
THE TEAM: Artist: Nancy Lovendahl, Lovendahl Studio; Stone Pre-forming: Swanson Stone, Sedalia, CO; Carving and Finishing: Lovendahl Studio; Soils Evaluation: City of Gunnison, CO; Foundations & Installation: Christopher Klein Construction, Gunnison, CO; Engineering: Brian Kurtz Engineering, Glenwood Springs, CO; Site consultant: Christopher Skully, Arch., Hord Coplan Macht, Denver, CO
Last December, I received that happiest of rare calls from Colorado Creative announcing that I had won the Art In Public Places (AIPP) award for the new renovation of Quigley Hall on The Western State Colorado University (WSCU).
My idea had connected their performing arts and visual arts departments, merging the concept of musical harmonics in the visual form of unison, octives and intervals. Natural geometry of these musical elements forms a most beautiful symbol… Like a leaf pattern, or fish, or what many males have recounted to me… Male sperm! Everyone is right because all of the same geometric proportions connected to these forms, yes- sperm does have geometric form- are the same.
I plan to cut this symbol out of raw blocks of limestone and refine them standing in an environmental space. This environment has sculptural seating, spontaneous performing spaces and visual art spaces in front of the newly renovated arts department building.
I started by buying stone…. LOTS of stone! 81,000 lbs of it actually.
You are looking at raw blocks for 3 individual pieces, which equal 6 parts for the sculpture: 3 symbols to be cut out of 3 frames.
I make templates out of my symbol in varying sizes for each of these raw boulders, which are then cut out using a gigantic wire saw. Swanson Stone in Sedalia, CO is my ticket to ride for this part:
Once the placement is established, the cutting begins. Like a cookie cutter, this symbol is cut out of the center of each rock. We are cutting one of the largest ones in the project, a 9 foot long x 5 ft wide X 3+ foot deep beauty from Kansas.
I’m fooling with you eye. This rock is really on its side. You are viewing the way it will be installed in the sculpture, soaring 9 feet into the air with the open space available for climbing through, looking through or sitting inside.
Here is the symbol, again fooling with your eye. It is shown how it will be installed standing upward vertically 7 feet high. The carved lines on the form are the intervals and octave lines set against the long smooth curve of the unison line.
What is beginning to take form for me, is the contrast between the rawness of the block, cut out revealing what has been taken away from it to be refined on its own. These contrasts represent ourselves. We begin something new, presenting ourselves in unrefined form. After the journey of the learning or experience, what has shifted out of us becomes something new and dazzling.
I’m working outside turning the symbol into the round, sensuous form with textures each of the 5 of them will become and then touching up the frame inside cut-outs for them to be completed. I’m finishing the second side of the first symbol and the first frame in the background is complete. 8 more to go!
I am under contract to deliver and install this environment in August, so there is much to do and discover in the making process. Stay tuned!
Skiing started early here in Ucross,WY too!! Barely enough snow to check out the far reaches of the river & ranch yesterday, but I made do sharing the track with deer, fox and more bunnies than I’ve ever seen. Saw two large bald eagles, too. Today it was 50 degrees, so most of this 3″ is gone. Skiing in the moonlight was magnificent last night coming home from the studio. No head lamp required.
Its been a fruitful second week… watching the weather change and the art work change. Feel like these drawings and cast paper works are taking form. I’m appreciating the uninterrupted time and opportunity to work in concentration with great support! Forgot what day it was, which felt like a victory.
This cast paper piece is from a mold I made at home of a favorite small sculpture. Seeing it here in all white and upside down hanging on the wall gives me more new associations to ponder in the vernacular. Its better.
The rock formations are very interesting. Many fossils and evidence of great landmass upheavals with composite rocks everywhere.
Ranch life is centralized around the beautiful red buildings in the central compound. This is a working ranch that practices environmentally sound land use methods, as part of the foundation vision. They save about 60,000 gallons of water each summer season using these methods. The old barn is a wonderful gallery now which features an annual show. This year’s is a collaboration between former artist fellows and scientists from U of NM and Yale in land based works. Quite beautiful.
Above is the office in the old ranch house. Before I came I was told it is bitterly cold, bring all your down EVERYTHING– yet in every old (and new) building I’ve been in has the heat blasting!! It may be cold outside but inside you shed your layers down to a t-shirt.
One of the highlights of Thursday nights in Buffalo is at The Occidental Hotel. There are more dead animals i that bar than I’ve ever seen and yes, that is a wolf on top of the piano. The owner hosts a community get together for a round robin “cowboy a’thon” with some amazing players. ( The guy who’s back is to the camera was the former lead guitarist for Johnny Paycheck (sp?), who was that by the way?). The owner is always looking for Ucross Fellows to add into the mix. This week was very special as Eddie, seen at the piano, is a young composer preparing his PhD. dissertation here in the residency. He blew them away! Several Ukeleles have been bought by my fellow colleagues so that the music continues here at The School House after dinner now! I’m warming up my vocal chords.
I best get to bed as my 3rd week begins tomorrow, four weeks in all. This being the tipping point, I took time to evaluate what I’m making to refocus for the next half to come. Feeling like I’m mining this vein of an idea deeply. I’m drinking deep at the creative well and loving every minute of it. More next week. Happy Thanksgiving to all. I have so much to be grateful for.
I’m settled into this residency now. Got here Nov 9, 2015 and will leave Dec 4. Ahhh…. I may never go home! They deliver meals to our doors so as not to bother us!! Dinner is at 6pm in The School House Building, where my own room is located designed with a sink, comfy chair and original art from past residents. My huge studio is well designed with a foundation staff who’s job it is to help me succeed. All this with miles of walking room and no expenses to attend. That is the real gift. The ranch was established in the late 1800’s and is located between Buffalo and Sheriden. In 1983, a former oil & gas exec decided he wanted to give back to the community that brought him such wealth. The Ucross Foundation was born. Amen, may your road to heaven be paved in gold. He is 93.
It is very competitive to receive one of these precious residencies, as I have discovered once here. They select an amazing jury each year plus the board of directors reads like the NY Times Book Review of bestselling authors. During my month, there are accomplished authors, playwrites (a Pulitzer Prize Winner on this week), a poet, 2 ceramists and me = 9 in all. Here are a few pics for you to get an idea of this remote jewel in WY:
The view from my walk each way to the studio. I’m on my way to dinner in the twilight. The School House is behind me.
The huge cottonwoods are amazing with this magical surprising “something” suspended from the tree swinging in the breeze!
My studio outside – The 4 Rock Studios: Mine is on the right
Day 1 – unpacking inside:
Day 7 – filling the studio up with drawings for a new exhibition I’m creating:
I just returned from Kansas City and Lawrence last month, driving a sculpture there for inclusion in The Lawrence Arts Council Sculpture Show. This big show was juried by gallerist Bill Haw and the town was ready for their annual show of 8 well-scaled sculptures. The city works team helping me was experienced and fun, which made a big pick-up load a pleasure to install! While making the delivery, I had the chance to visit Haw Contemporary, a beautiful Kansas City gallery in the warehouse district, The Nerman Museum, The Kemper Museum plus The Sherman Museum back in Lawrence. I can’t express how much I enjoyed the hospitality from everyone. My meetings were cordial and relaxed to show my work to new faces. I do hope I get the chance to come back soon and work with some of these consummate professionals.
Part-time Aspenites and Kansas City friends Sharon and John Hoffman were fantastic hosts in getting me to the best of the arts in Kansas City. I had lunch with long-time friend of Anderson Ranch Arts Center artist and board member Lee Lyons catching up on his move into a new house there. His gorgeous collection looked great. He showed me his favorite historic latin illuminated manuscript from his stash. His collecting is a passion. Everyone told me not to miss the new wing of The Nelson Adkins Museum and holy schmoly…just get into your car and GO NOW! The sculpture of Judith Shea, Ursula Von Rydingsvaard and Roxy Payne are being shown off in the the best way I have ever seen. Massive works on flowing green lawns amid the largest privately held Henry Moore collection in the U.S. Kansas City is home to many of the long time philanthropists for a few centuries now.
I was corrected by the extraordinary collector, curator and fabulously humorous director of The Nerman, Bruce Hartman, that “Kansas City is the real gateway to the west.” The contrary was said by me, a born Chicagoan, reflecting my own prejudices. Kansas City feels like a mature grown-up to the young teenager that Denver is growing into. I got a city-fix the likes of New York without the hassle and bump. Its got Chicago-style friendliness, beauty and cultural sophistication but I might get corrected on that, too… very soon! Kansas is a one of a kind home land. http://nancylovendahl.com
I first began this blog to demystify the making of sculpture for any readers inspired to tune in!
Yes- that is the backbone here… however, how about a little pictorial story of the journey, as well??
Strap yourself in… here we go!
Where have I been? Nose down in the studio… here’s the evidence!
Here is an installation pic of the recent BIG event I’ve fulfilled this fall! But the road getting there has been 18 months of 24/7 weeks as the exhibition was such an opportunity to show new sculptures, new materials and new paradigms in my thinking. I’m still recovering, to be honest. The crash after such a push always has a price!! But I am not complaining. The rest of this year has been equally a high point. 5 shows in 12 months… with the last opening for a group show Dec. 16 at Anderson Ranch Art Center, NOTHING IS EVER WHAT WE THINK curated and organized by Andrew Roberts-Gray. Below are the review highlights from the rest of the year in pictures:
A commission comes to an artist for many different reasons. I’ve been thinking about the process my recent commission, THE GATHERING, followed after the collectors walked through my door at the invitation of a long-time friend and designer. She and I had worked on many projects over the years and they were always good experiences. This designer had the uncanny ability to match clients and artists. No one’s time is wasted as this pro does her due diligence before any calls are made. This is important to learn about a dealer or contact upfront. You can’t push them into liking your artwork and at the same time, they’ll remember you if you keep them updated, too. I’m the fortunate one to work with someone like her and had updated her about what I was carving down the street. Oh, yeah… she lives 2 blocks away making studio visits very easy. Especially on warm nights when a work day is done!
Unbeknownst to me, these clients and said designer had been looking at my stonework for 3 years before pursuing an outdoor table to sit by a creek in rural Gunnison County, CO. These weren’t ordinary collectors. They had an eclectic and loved collection of ethnic and contemporary pieces. It then turned out that we were all from Chicago. He had even worked with my late father-in-law in business. We knew each other in 10″ time. The designer just smiled and let us roll. We were off and running putting together a check list of the needs they had collected over the 10 years of living in this extraordinary house out in the country. So we started…. more next post.