Vicino Orsini's "Bosco Sacro" or Sacred Garden of monstrous and divine forms in Bomarzo, Italy, inspired me when I created this brownstone rookery in a grove of tall pines. With this 2 story sculpture, I try to challenge, humor, inspire and disturb the viewer's preconceptions all at the same time.
The thick bed of terra cotta pine needles geometrically assemble upward and morph into the building blocks. Bittersweet and grape vines battle for the light and their fury creates a sylvan nest for a dinosaur bird. This has become the favorite destination for children visiting on public tours of the estate gardens. I cast large cement eggs and installed them on the roof deck contained in the nest. The kids excitedly climb the stairs inside the tower and are told about the huge mother bird that is away looking for more big vines. And then on the top deck, they see these eggs. The look on their faces is priceless.
2002 / Greenwich, Ct.
Les Soldats dans Le Foret
A series of 16 steel figures march in lockstep through the forest. From the rear of their heads, powerful blue theater lights illuminate a large wall of grey granite. By day, the figures mingle anonymously among the trees much like the conquistadors must have appeared in the Central American forest or the German soldiers in les forets de Verdun. But, in darkness, the illusion of a giant wave of blue water massing behind them is created.
The 7 to 15 foot tall stoic totems reference Mayan architecture and mankind's fatally flawed dream of subduing nature. And, of course, the installation illustrates at night, in vivid blue light, Earth's response. The Blue Tsunami will come crashing down upon the stalwart, purposeful soldiers.
2005 / Gloucester, Mass.
This portal fronts directly onto the ocean and swings inward as a passage door on the left and a vehicle gate on the right. It measures 20 feet long and 7' high.
Cedar, copper, granite and a transplanted mature grape vine are the materials. Eventually the vine will become the gate, its leaders trained to replace the wood branch flourishes. The greatest challenge here was to fashion heavy hinges and a hidden wheel to take the large weight of the structure as it rolled atop the turtle back stones. See pictures of the construction in Gallery Fire.
2006 / Anasquam. Massachusetts
"He who comes in Peace," is the name translation of the Egyptian architect, engineer and physician from the 27th century BC. Common man Imhotep was the mind behind the Great Steppe Pyramid at Sakkara, built for the Pharaoh, Djoser. WIth this simple structure, I attempt to pay him my respect.
When I was little, I would fall asleep with baskets of books on ancient civilizations sprawled over my bed covers. What struck me then and now is how often the true builders, the architects and of equal importance, the skilled laborers of great things, are forgotten in the folds of time.
8 meters tall. 15 meters wide at the base. Native granite and quarry rubble.
2007 / Gloucester, Mass.
Horse Hair Apse
The challenge in this commission was to make a sculpture that would gently bow before this marvelously proportioned early 20th century cottage. I spent a great deal of time just sitting and looking at the house in all lights of day, in sun and storms, morning and the waning glow of nightfall.
The title refers to the horse hair that was added to the exterior wall's plaster mix by amazing craftsmen a hundred years ago. The texture and lively solidity it imparted to the surface is impressive. The gothic shaped cedar arch wisps like a horse's mane and tail.
2008 / Anasquam, Mass.
King Sisyphus of Greek mythology was a conniving overlord who believed that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus himself. Seeing that his authority was threatened, Zeus consigned Sisyphus the forever task of rolling a boulder up a hill. The stone, however, was specially enchanted and would roll away and down from the King before he reached the top. Thus was Sisyphus enslaved in a life of useless efforts and unending frustration.
I took this tale to heart in one of my earliest works. Here I had a single large slab of native stone with which to work. I sectioned it in thirds and made it float on stainless pins above the mother granite. 'Ah, so you think you are free,' But then comes the boulder's return.
To me, Zeus is Nature itself. And this is not challenge but homage to the cautionary tale. I knew from that first cloudy spring day in 1991 that found me huffing and grunting as I tried to move raw stone with only hands and rollers and levers, that my career of choice would kill me if I did not treat the material with respect. Finding that near perfect stone sphere, for example, required me to walk my nearby rivers for 2 weeks in waders looking, looking, looking and never seeing the penultimate shape. And then one day....
1996 / South Salem, New York