Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition
Twentieth Anniversary Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition

12th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (1998-1999)

May 1, 1998 - February 28, 1999

Juror: John Perreault

Curator: Hank T. Foreman

Juror's Statement

Sculpture does not stop where it physically ends. Instead it extends into the surrounding space or stops it and I think enlivens if it is any good as art. It makes flat or rolling lawns even more flat or rolling; it keeps buildings in place. It functions as a marker: me me at the gismo. Indoor or outdoor makes a difference. For inside we have walla and floors and even ceilings to think about, whereas outside our art can breathe a bit or, alas, be totally overwhelmed. What art can sand up to weather, to sky to strolling crowds, or woodland scents?

The Boone campus provides a variety of sites so that places can come into play. Where is the best place for this particular sculpture? In almost all cases in this current exhibition, the best place for each has been found. The art in it was the art of making it seem natural, making it seem as if the artworks had always been where they are. There are of course natural pedestals everwhere but what we need is some relationsip to buildings and strolling students too. Hank Foreman is to be congratulated for his efforts. Rudy Rudisill's Seven Steps to Nowhere has just the right relationship to the nearby buildings in terms of echo and contrast. Colin Beatty's beautiful Bird Catcher - beautiful but unusual in its combination of tenting and bird houses - is artfully planted. Steven Dolbin's Conduit, which seems to be a concrete figure rolled up in a concrete sleeping bag or body bag, is all the more poignant and perhaps frightening in the middle of a sloping lawn. Down the hill is Joseph Thompson's Confluence, a boat and anchor which would have looked too strange on a steeper slope.

There is of course, another way of doing things. Instead of starting with a sculpture then hunting for its perfect placements, start with the site. In an innovation for the Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, site specific sculpture is included for the first time. Stephen Montague's ground-hugging piece made of timber, local slate and lead brings to life an odd island created by crossing paths. Steven Siegel elected to start with a grove of trees. A seemingly solid mound or wall of newspapers interacts with the trees and slumps to fit the slope; the newsprint stratum is topped by turf, further uniting the piece with the environment. This, the most unusual artwork in the exhibition, makes gravity, geology, and even time visible.

Stepping back a bit, the typology and subject matter of my selection turns out to be pleasantly diverse, I did not start with this in mind but made my choices strictly by what was presented to my eye, sculpting the trays of slides to a manageable group by process of elimination. The site-specific entries were not necessarily the biggest risks, for often it is easier to gamble on a way of thinking made visible than on how work already done will look full-size on site, in naked 3-D.

Some themes are well worth isolating. Geology is a consideration in Cecilia Allen's Vestigial Topographies as well as in Montague's and Siegel's artworks. Recycled or found materials play a part in Amy Gerhauser's Chair for Ana M. as well as in Siegel's and Montague's site specific pieces. There are also themes that stand alone: the figure (Dolbin); ritual (Gerhauser); abstraction (Tillnghast). I cannot claim to have covered all bases, but probably came close. Clarity of outline, shape, mass and effort was what I started from and then of course emotion comes into play. The artwork whether indoor or outdoor, portable or site specific, must speak to your inner as well as your outer eye, must speak to your heart as well as your intelligence.
John Perreault

About the Juror

Well known arts professional John Perreault will serve as the juror for the 1998 competition, continuing the exhibition's tradition of bringing nationally recognized arts professionals to An Appalachian Summer Festival. Mr. Perreault's writings have appeared in Art in America, Artforum, Arts, and American Craft. Currently, he is the Executive Director of UrbanGlass, the New York Contemporary Glass Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Curator's Statement

Like all art media, contemporary outdoor sculpture pushes the boundaries implied by existing definitions. What does the category "outdoor sculpture" mean? First of all, and easiest to express, outdoor sculpture is out-of-doors. However, this obvious observation leads us to investigate many of the characteristics that make outdoor sculpture so wonderful.

Of first importance is the fact that outdoor sculpture really gets us where we live. On the college campus people are constantly moving from one building to another. This routine brings us in proximity to these works on a daily basis. This constant closeness provides us with numerous opportunities to experience the work. One might happen upon a new work and be instantly intrigued. Each time you pass the work, you reaffirm your relationship with the work - enjoying it even more over time. However, it is also possible that you might not "connect" with a work instantly, but over time subtleties become apparent and you begin to really experience the work. In either of these cases, or the range of experiences in between, outdoor sculpture becomes part of our environment. Being part of our environment means that our relationship with these works is affected by weather, time of day, season and our own mental and psychological placement. All of these factors contribute to a complex relationship that helps us challenge our creative and critical abilities, and our own definitions of art.

The next group of characteristics centers on the physicality of the work: they are form, scale, and materials. Form can be driven by many things - an investigation of the design elements, a ritual, a narrative, a response to the environment, the inherent qualities of materials, the contextual qualities of materials, or a combination of these and other concerns. The works in the Twelfth Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition offer an excellent opportunity to investigate the generation of form. In addition to the works, each artist has provided a statement which gives additional insight into their processes.

Linked with form is the characteristic of scale. For many years, a discussion of outdoor sculpture and scale led to one word - big. Large scale works act as magnets drawing people towards them often by the sheer gravity of their scale. However, most of these large scale outdoor sculptures were limited to monumental scale, mostly commissioned, artworks. The most important results of these large scale public sculpture programs were the sense of community engendered and the palpable excitement as people investigated and lived around these works. While the power of outdoor sculpture was immediately apparent, limitations severely narrowed the number of artists who could produce and show outdoor sculpture. Programs such as the Rosen Competition & Exhibition sought to provide venues for these sculptors and to bring the joys of public art to a wider audience.

This year's exhibition includes the 120th sculpture placed on the Appalachian campus through the Rosen program. Not included in this number are the works purchased and installed as part of the permanent collection. Over the years, through the support of venues such as Appalachian, sculptors have experimented with the concept of scale as it relates to the outdoor environment. In the right setting, more human scale works can generate an intimate response. This response pulls viewers into investigating the work and offers insights because of the relationship between the scale of the work and the site. We are fortunate this year to have works which actively, and effectively, deal with the issue of scale. These works, with their varied sense of scale, offer us the opportunity to investigate how vital the scale is to our relationship with an artwork. As we move from the large works to the smaller works, it is interesting to imagine a reverse shift in scale. How might this affect our relationship with the work?

The final characteristic in this group is materials or media. Issues of scale, weather, and aesthetics combine to dictate the media for outdoor sculpture. However, just as artists have begun to play with scale, they have begun to play with the issue of appropriateness as it relates to materials. When many sculptures were monumental in nature, of course the materials had to support the structure. With changes in scale, the nature of materials has changed. Also, artists have begun to view nature/the environment as more of a collaborator in an evolutionary process of creation. For years artists have allowed the elements to patina metals, but in recent years artists have begun to use materials that undergo more intense physical reactions to the environment. Works may be designed for single exhibitions or may even be designed to decompose within a short period of time. The field of outdoor sculpture is no longer predominantly occupied by sculptors who only wish to create "permanent" works. This said, sculptors are more likely to be creating a combination of permanent and temporary works. It is this relationship - the exploration of materials and concepts - that has offered so much excitement to contemporary sculpture.

I am pleased and proud to offer this group of works to our community. We are indeed fortunate to have a program like the Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition, and the works in this year's program provide a wonderful vignette of the exciting work that makes up contemporary sculpture. I invite you to join me in exploring, investigating, and enjoying this group of works. Each of these works brings us into the contemporary dialogue about sculpture and offers us a great opportunity for sharpening our critical and creative abilities.
Hank T. Foreman
Director & Chief Curator
Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

About the Curator

Hank Foreman serves as Assistant Vice Chancellor of Arts and Cultural Affairs as well as Director and Chief Curator of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts for Appalachian State University. He obtained his M.A. in Art Education from Appalachian, having completed undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, with a concentration in Painting and Sculpture. His duties include the administrative responsibilities for An Appalachian Summer Festival, the Performing Arts Series, Farthing Auditorium and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts.

During his tenure at Appalachian State, Foreman has taken part in the organization of numerous exhibitions, including the associated lectures, symposia, and publications. He has worked closely with the university's Department of Art, and a wide variety of other campus and community groups, to make gallery resources available to all. One of his earliest exhibitions at Appalachian, Views From Ground Level: Art and Ecology in the Late Nineties, brought internationally acclaimed artists, historians, and critics to the campus and received national attention.

Foreman is also an exhibiting studio artist, and participates in regional and national conferences as a presenter and panelist.

Credits / Acknowledgements

In recent years, an African proverb has provided insight into the complexities of rearing our nation's children. Educators, business leaders and community activists have proposed that it takes a village to rear healthy citizens. This model, which understands the importance of interdependence within a community, is extremely appropriate for many other situations. I propose that it is exactly this type of partnership that has led to the strong and vibrant outdoor sculpture program we enjoy at Appalachian State University.

This partnership starts with those who put the vision before us: Martin and Doris Rosen, and the Appalachian State University representatives who laid the groundwork for the Rosen program. The generous support of Martin and Doris Rosen has assisted the Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition in achieving its goal of becoming a premiere venue for contemporary outdoor sculpture. Joining the Rosens in this partnership is a long list of people with includes: the jurors, participating artists, University Administration, faculty, staff and students. Without the special dynamics each of these groups brings to the Rosen program, we would not enjoy such a healthy and exciting event.

On behalf of An Appalachian Summer Festival, the Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Catherine J. Smith Gallery, I wish to thank all of the artists who participated in this year's competition and congratulate those chosen for the exhibition. I would like to thank our juror, John Perreault, for meeting the daunting task of choosing ten works from the over 250 works submitted. I wish to thank my colleagues in the Office of Cultural Affairs, my colleagues in the Art Department, and the students who participated in the installations. Special thanks for our designer- Mike Fanizza, photographer - Troy Tuttle, and Assistant to the Gallery Director - Kim Johnson McDade.

This year we were pleased to add the site-specific works category to the competition. Two works were completed on campus and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following businesses for donations of materials: Blue Ridge Quarry, Timberframers of America, The Watauga Democrat, and Vulcan Quarry. Finally heartfelt thanks to Jim Bryan - Grounds Superintendent and crew, and to Evan Rowe - Safety Officer.

Hank T. Foreman
May 1998

Exhibits 1 - 10 of 10

Squeeze 2

Squeeze 2
Newspaper, Earth, and Grass

Steven Siegel

12th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (1998-1999)
Rosen Award 1st Place

Award WinnerRosen Sculpture Loan Program
Bird Catcher

Bird Catcher
Mixed Media

Colin Beatty

12th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (1998-1999)

Chair for Ana M.

Chair for Ana M.
Steel and Iron

Amy Gerhauser

12th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (1998-1999)

Conduit

Conduit
Concrete

Steve Dolbin

12th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (1998-1999)

Confluence

Confluence
Wood and Steel

Joseph Thompson

12th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (1998-1999)

FS.922 Seven Steps to Nowhere

FS.922 Seven Steps to Nowhere
Galvanized Steel

Rudy Rudisill

12th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (1998-1999)

The Re Destruction of Karl Manzer's Barn Boone North Carolina

The Re Destruction of Karl Manzer's Barn Boone North Carolina
Stone, Wood, Lead, and Steel

Stephen Montague

12th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (1998-1999)

Shakti

Shakti
Steel

Gretchen Lothrop

12th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (1998-1999)

Vestibule

Vestibule
Steel

David Tillinghast

12th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (1998-1999)

Vestigal Topographies

Vestigal Topographies
Cast Bronze

Cecilia Allen

12th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition (1998-1999)

Exhibits 1 - 10 of 10

Legend: Award Winner- Award Winner Rosen Sculpture Loan Program- Rosen Sculpture Loan Program