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Our Changing Sea 2012 captures a view of Lake Champlain from an eastern mountaintop in Vermont.
Installed near a third floor ICU in the Fletcher Allen Health Center in Burlington, Vermont, it reminds us of the sea change of circumstances that can accompany an illness.
The aluminum and paint sculpture is 15 feet long by 2.5 feet tall
OUR CHANGING SEA
Just as our lives change, so has our landscape.
For 100,000 years an Ice Age glacier slowly scraped a depression between the Adirondack and Green Mountains. As the climate warmed, about 12,000 years ago, the retreating ice sheet uncovered a low basin, giving us a fresh water lake, "Lake Vermont".
About 11,000 years ago, further retreat of the ice allowed seawater to enter the basin from the St. Lawrence, forming the "Champlain Sea".
Whales swam the new sea; and clams, mussels and other mollusks provided food for early Americans encamped along the emerging shores. Eventually, around 8,000 years ago, the basin, which had been depressed below sea level by the weight of the ice sheet, rose to an elevation above sea level. Salt water was replaced by fresh water and our "Lake Champlain" settled into place. Such shifts have brought us all here.
Many of my sculptures document time; some tell clock time, while others mark the seasons, casting shadow or light at the equinoxes and at summer and winter solstice. The World Sculpture Project encompasses five sun-aligned sculptures, the earliest in Stanstead, Quebec, and Oslo, Norway, and later ones in Sendai, Japan, Hawaii and Nelson, New Zealand.
Inspiration sometimes comes from curves I see in nature: fiddlehead ferns and tendrils of vines or grasses moving in the wind. I transfer these curves into calligraphic strokes, first with ink and a brush. Later I cut the "strokes" out of steel, bending them into shape with an oxy-acetylene torch. These small works are the maquettes for the much larger, final steel sculptures.
Corten steel is my material of choice. It rusts to a deep dark patina with subtle changes in the soft velvety surface. Stainless steel is more dramatic and I incorporate it when I want a finished surface with signature swirls that reflect light in many directions.
My public work includes WELLSPRING at the Heller School at Brandeis University near Boston, MA; SUNFIX at the Highgate Springs, VT, United States Port of Entry; HIMEGURI at the Mitsubishi Sports Garden in Sendai, Japan; SOLEKKO at the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology in Oslo, Norway and TELLING STONES at Mapua School, Nelson, New Zealand.
I have also worked with many private clients to create sculptures for their urban and country sites.
Frank Phillips, design engineer and fabricator, works with me to create the larger steel works. He manages the fabrication from his studio in Colorado, relying on the steel workshops of Denver to do the difficult rolling and welding of the large steel elements.