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Cast Concrete/Ceramic/Brick/Wire 2016
This male torso sculpture assembly began his journey to the farm at my old nursery. His companion, modeled a bit like the Venus de Milo sold quickly. But Calvert stayed overlooked for years. If no one wanted to bring him into their garden, then a place in the forest at the farm was in order. As with all of the works here, the location was selected very carefully over the course of a few seasons to bring out the best in contrasts, light and surprise.
Calvert is on a pedestal made from Tufa stone twisted in its stacking, then a handful of antique bricks, some with the indented “frog” stamped Calvert. These rare bricks were made in the early 20th century at the Victor Culshaw & Sons plant in Willamsport, Maryland.
In 2017 I added the ceramic scull, which houses wrens each year, finally a belt of orange wire was wrapped around his hips for modesty. Calvert is proud, and he is a fan favorite for the traditional tap on backside photos with guests. In 2019 Calvert got a lady friend, who turns the scene into a fantasy Biblical folly. I hope you enjoy both when you come.
The Narcissus Bridge
In 1998 when I started to travel about the 37 acres of the farm and woods, there was an area that was always too wet to cross, and was calling for a little bridge. It started out with a few pallets, then a reclaimed mini garden bridge that barely made it across the middle of the mud. The next iteration of the bridge was a typical plank boardwalk whose nails rusted leaving the crossing treacherous at best. Hence, it’s original name: The Bridge of Death.
This location was too important for these failures. The crossing led to the ½ mile trail that went deep through the woods all the way to the Grand Marsh View. I had to do something better. In the fall of 2019 we started to remove the dangerous overhanging dead trees and cut back the native overgrown shrubs. Each time we cleaned up the area, ideas raced through my head. A Full Moon Bridge like in Japan! A rope bridge like over a canyon, a see-saw bridge that rolled over as you crossed….. too much engineering and risk for the traveler.
I settled on a bridge that would be a False Cantilevered/False Suspension arrangement. Days of mock ups and changes. The bridge would have elements of the ones I saw in Nikko, Japan. Orange, elegant and strong. The suspension pieces suspend nothing. The cantilever is magic. At the space in the center, you must look down and see if you see your reflection, and decide if you are that beautiful! Many visitors have remarked on the visual sensation that happens as the hoops go up and down in your peripheral vision as you cross.
Wood/anti gravitational paint 2020
My goal was simple at first. Do something with the last remaining 24’x3”x8” clear white pine dock boards that were gifted to me by a local contractor. He didn’t want to waste these amazing (although creosoted) pieces of lumber. Free from knots, they were very interesting and could bend nicely. I though of so many ways to use it. Vertically, suspended from a tree, set like a balancing beam or ramp….eventually I decided on a surprise sculpture in a low area where the beam looked as if it were floating out of the ground in an abstract angled way. We used 3 coats of primer and 5 coats of Gloss “Inferno” orange paint to create a lacquer like finish. It took 3 men to move it to the site through the marsh trail. It took three other men to hold it in place while I directed what it needed to look like. (they still don’t like me for that) Once I was happy with the angles, they let go and it magically appears to float “Above” the marsh.
Not being able to part with so many odd things from my time as a landscape contractor, I had these two cast iron fork-lift blades leaning against a wall for years. These two I pondered ideas for and most seemed dangerous because of the weight. I toyed with them holding a 16lb shotput, but it still needed something stronger and bigger to hold in place. My friend from the local feedstore offered me these three huge sandstone rocks to use at my pleasure on the farm. That was it. They would hold the L shaped fork tines in place as they then gripped the ball and they look liked they are thrusting through the rocks.
It doesn’t stop there, everything on the farm has second meanings or uses, and this device is also a sundial facing East/West. On the Summer Solstice, June 21 at noon there is barely a shadow cast. On the Winter Solstice December 21, the shadow at noon is 6’ long facing due North.
The tin foil wrap, hides the weight of the ball, and visitors fool with it but it seems stuck. The tin foil also acts as a reflective element and picks up the “light values” of any given day. There are many other mirrored orbs nearby and the illusion are amplified by the mid-summer seed heads of the Tragapogon flowers you see in the photo here. Cory Brant and I set this one up just prior to the big event last December.