Magazine article Sculpture

Lincoln, Montana

Magazine article Sculpture

Lincoln, Montana

Article excerpt

2014 Sculpture Symposium

Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild International Sculpture Park

For its inaugural symposium, Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild International Sculpture Park brought an impressive roster of sculptors from Ireland, Denmark, Finland, and the U.S. to the small community of Lincoln, Montana. Founded to celebrate the rich, and sometimes conflicting, environmental, industrial, and cultural heritage of the Blackfoot Valley, this new park invites artists to create site-specific works using materials associated with the area's historical legacy. The teepee burner of the old Delaney sawmill, edged by a pine forest, serves as a symbolic focus for the park's natural and cultural aspirations. Teepee burners are no longer used in the logging industry, and this majestic remnant of Blackfoot Valley heritage has been transformed into a contemporary space for art exhibitions, performances, and educational programs and workshops.

Denmark's Jorn Ronnau created a three-piece sculpture that evoked the region's history in a very human way. He noticed a pair of fallen pines in the forest, moved them, and symbolically raised them again to become the central element in an evolving sculpture. In A Gateway of Change, nature as represented by the two trees becomes a symbol of interdependence and a passage between past, present, and future. A spiral stair carved in wood leads to a seat from which viewers can look through the gateway at what appears to be a miniature city, a potential utopia or metaphorical monument. Quotations from regional writers, carved like a woodcutter's embroidery into the gateway, extol reconciliation between nature and culture.

Alan Counihan's House of Sky stands emphatically, quixotically- an eclectic structure raised out of context to embrace the Montana landscape. The mirrored surfaces of this house/metaphor, made of synthetic materials, reflect the skies and surrounding treetops with serenity, celebrating the nature/culture bond that makes the region a nature lover's paradise. Even so, this connection as represented by the "house" (the earth being our ultimate house or home) is tenuous: the house stands up in the air. In Counihan's words, the house "came to represent the uninhabitable dreams of those original Montana settlers. The material from which it is made further suggests the uninhabitable worlds offered by modern technology."

Steven Siegel's sculptures address the scale of production and consumption in our society through the use of recycled materials built into forms that mirror the topography and geology of the land. …

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