Artist and President
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"Art in the Depot" is a program of the Marion Arts Festival which invites festival attendees to work under the direction of professional Iowa artists in the creation of large-scale works of art which are permanently installed at public places within the community.
The focus for this Art in the Depot project was ceramic tiles made by people during Art in the Park, May 17, 2008. Although there was ostensibly a theme of community the tiles were made more in response to the provided tools and clay itself.
The tiles were fired either in an electric kiln (which allows for a wide range of brighter colors) or in a woodfired kiln (which produces more earth tones as well as a patina from the interaction of the flame and ash in the firing). Each tile was glazed as an individual work of art. Hopefully the glazing matched the conception of the participants and their wide range of age and ability.
The rectangular form for the project was designed to allow for easy placement of the tiles and to maintain the feel of classical monuments. The basic rectangular form was cut to produce an upward turned diamond face to create a more dynamic feeling.
To further make the sculpture less blocky the tiles were loosely arranged rather than in a tight grid. Glass slabs were used to let light pass through the sculpture as well as to allow viewing of the internal structure of the column.
Assembly of the sculpture was directed by the following:
The design softened the rigid structure of the form without losing the basic rectilinear structure by framing the edges with black walnut that grabs the tiles. Viewing the "cut" diamond top and vertical bottom/sides as codependent there is no edging used between them. The black walnut lumber was carefully selected to be darker at the bottom of the sculpture and lighter at the top following the tiles discussed below.
Woodfired tiles (darker) were concentrated at the bottom and taper out going up while the electric fired tiles (lighter) run the opposite way. In a sense even in the most worldly setting there is still some part of the spiritual and in the spiritual realm some sense of the real world.
On the diamond/top the glass slabs are intact and on the sides/bottom they have been cut into four pieces. They can be viewed as either bubbling up toward unity or raining down to support growth.
The structure of the wood fill around the tiles on the bottom/sides related to the gathering of individuals into groups and the dynamic nature of those groups over time. The top/diamond and bottom/sides blend into each other both in space and in style transition.
Although I have been listed as the "guest artist," this sculpture represents more than 400 hours of work by everyone involved. I hope that they, as well as you, enjoy the end result. It has truly been a pleasure to be involved with this effort.
The following are acknowledged for their support of this project:
Marion Arts Festival
Art in the Depot, 2008
Michael Stickney, Associate
City of Marion, Partner
Deb Bailey, MAF Director
Karen Hoyt, Coordinator
MAF Board & Friends
MAF Steering Committee