Nancy Lovendahl – Love and Art

Take an art experience into the sculpture process!

Category: public art

The Power of Limits Is Completed

Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, CO has a new interactive public art sculpture linking their arts departments.  This has been close to a year long project completed and dedicated in September, 2016.  Many thanks go to Julie Feier, CFO of the university for her amazing ability to get things done!

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



Art: Raw to Refined!

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.image

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:image

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.

imageHere 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.

imageI’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!

Art & Kansas is a place to call home!

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.

8” x 22” x 10” - 875 lbs White Yule Marble, Limestone, Blue Colored UV Balanced Epoxy Resin

8” x 22” x 10” – 875 lbs
White Yule Marble, Limestone, Blue Colored UV Balanced Epoxy Resin

A Small Diversion…

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!

%d bloggers like this: