Monday, April 4, 2011

Dordt College Art Committee: Concept proposal for an East Campus Sculpture

Illustration and maquette by David Versluis. Piece is entitled: “Enlaced,” © 2011.
Scale: eighteen feet high x seven feet wide.

The design of this sculpture is guided by a sense of an intertwining of a Christian perspective that’s found within Dordt College’s academic community. This sculptural piece tries to convey this aspect by weaving together seven upright metallic forms. The individual upright pieces are grouped into a regular pattern and yet suggest variety with unity through the columns of different heights. The goal is to develop a symbolic respite on campus, whether the piece is placed within a new landscaped sculpture garden or simply juxtaposed with existing buildings and pedestrian walkways.

The rusty patina of steel surface suggests an honest character produced by natural environmental elements. COR-TEN® steel forms a stable rust-like appearance when exposed to the weather for several years.

The sculpture is comprised of seven columns, which to some extent allude to the Hebraic biblical symbolism of seven branches of the traditional temple lamp-stand called the menorah (Exodus 25:31-40). The menorah is thought to symbolize the burning bush as seen by Moses on Mount Horeb (Exodus 3). In addition, the design of the menorah suggests the six branches of human knowledge, which are symbolically guided by the seventh branch representing the light of God.

Psalm 19 talks about the ways in which creation reveals God’s patterning in beautiful poetic language. Emphasizing the import of the “burning bush” analogy Calvin Seerveld writes in Rainbows for the Fallen World:

“Psalm 19 is enough to leave you limp. It makes vivid that all creation is a burning bush of the Lord God, revealing his just, merciful presence by the praise of countless creatures. It sings the glory of the law and ordinances by which Yahweh’s mouth rules all goings on in history with wisdom and compassion … and … it ends by confessing … that in keeping the law and in doing what’s right there is no justification … [God] save us! … Set us free from our sinful selves to be your willing servants, Lord!”

This sculpture celebrates the common reality found in Psalm 19 in which all human beings exist. If implemented a sculpture area would be a public space — a place where the Dordt community could congregate, meet, talk, and interact.

Referenced materials:

Strauss, Gideon. “Wonder, Heartbreak and Hope.” Capital Commentary. The Center for Public Justice, 28 Jan. 2011. Web. 23 Feb. 2011. .

Seerveld, Calvin. Rainbows for the Fallen World: The Aesthetic Life and Artistic Task. Downsview, Ontario: Toronto Tuppence Press, 1980. 17. Print.

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