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Sharon Licata at the Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Installation

The Mountain Times recently carried Jason Eason’s article and image as coverage for the Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition installation at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

They came to the campus of Appalachian State University last weekend with flatbed trucks, vans and cranes. No, we’re not talking about construction crews building the university’s new cafeteria. It was nine of the ten artists participating in this year’s Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition and Competition.


Above: Columbia, South Carolina sculptor Sharon Collings Licata reassembles her piece “Getting Back on the Totem” in front of the Hayes School of Music.

The new sculptures were installed on Friday and Saturday in front of Wey Hall, Farthing Auditorium and the Hayes School of Music on Rivers Street. The 22nd Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition and Competition finalists came from as far away as Boulder, Colo., and Flagstaff, Ariz., to install their works in Boone.

The works will remain will on campus for a full year. The competition will culminate with the announcement of the winner on July 26th, the final day of ASU’s An Appalachian Summer Festival.

The juror for this year’s competition is Sarah Clark-Langager, curator of the Outdoor Sculpture Collection and director of the Western Gallery at Western Washington University. Clark-Langager will be on the Appalachian State University campus on May 16th to view the final sculptures on site.

According to Brook Greene, assistant curator for the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and Rosen Sculpture Competition coordinator, the ten finalists were selected from 72 works submitted by 49 artists.

The ten finalists are Peter Frantz of State College, PA; Cathrin Hoskinson of New York, NY; Sharon Collings Licata of Columbia, SC; Hanna Jubran of Grimesland, NC; Jon Mehlferber of Bristol, VA; John Northington of Kansas City, MO; Duke Oursler of Statesboro, GA; Bill Vielehr of Boulder, CO; Glenn Zweygardt of Alfred Station, NY; and this year’s site-specific artist, Shawn Skabelund of Flagstaff, AZ.

“My work explores what Wendell Berry calls the ‘unsettling of America,’ namely, the effects, the marks and the changes that humans make on the land cultures of a given area,” said Skabelund. “My installations demonstrate my desire to create art that gives viewers time and space to think about the local communities, economies and ecosystems they inhabit. To prepare for each piece, I research the history of the place to learn how the interatction between the wild and the human has determined direction and cultural makeup of the local community.”

Skabelund’s piece will be installed on the rectangular pad next to Walker Hall during the week of May 12-16th. The public is invited to come by the ASU campus and watch as Skabelund installs his new site-specific sculpture.

All of the participating artists in the Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition have received assistance from ASU art students in the entire process.

“Students assist with the initial planning and organization of the competition, assist with the installation of artwork, take charge of artist hospitality, a student graphic designer (created) the full color catalog, and (coordinated) an artist residency program within the Department of Art,” said Greene.

Greene added that the Turchin Center and the Department of Art have been working with ASU’s Hayes School of Music and Gilley Recording Studio to create a podcast for the sculpture competition.

“The podcast will feature each artist commenting on a variety of issues concerning their sculptures,” said Greene. “New to this year’s podcast will be the addition of composition students composing new music that is inspired by the sculptures.”

The sculptures themselves represent a wide array of artistic philosophies and sculpture materials.

Peter Frantz’ piece, “Repeating Ourselves to the Stars,” will no doubt be one of the most noticeable sculptures in the outdoor competition, especially at night. Installed next to Wey Hall, the sculpture includes a box that will project a video onto a white tree-like carving and onto one of Wey’s walls.

“The video is part of a whole series that I have titled ‘Mythology of My Own Making,’” said Frantz. “I live in the suburbs, but every day I ride the subway into the city, so I wanted to make a video that shows the pulse of those different places.

“I experience life first and always as a conversation, a discourse with forces we neither see nor fully understand…my work strives for a reconciliation of solid materials against this fleeting ephemeral world of human connection, a translation without words.”

“Getting Back on that Totem,” is the title of Sharon Collings Licata’s sculpture, which can be seen near the entrance of the Hayes School of Music. On Friday she was assembling the piece with the assistance of two ASU art students.

“My blurb for the piece states, ‘Even a scolding remark by a trusted friend can lead to art-making,’” said Licata. “In this case the comment, referring to priorities, was, ‘Never mind being at the head of your totem. You aren’t even on your totem.’”

Artist Glenn Zweygardt traveled from Alfred Station, New York to set up his sculpture “Council Columns,” made of self-weathering steel, bronze, cast glass and granite. After teaching sculpture at the New York State College of Ceramics for 38 years, Zweygardt has retired to become a full time artist.

“Finding ones place in a relationship with nature is the theme of my sculpture,” said Zweygardt. “While working with materials such as metal and stone, a relationship between nature and myself is formed.”

The 22nd Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition will be on display from May 2008 until February 2009. A special Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Walk is scheduled for Saturday, July 26th at 10 a.m. The walk is free and open to the public.

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