Centre opens art exhibit; unveils plans for outdoor sculpture on campus
DANVILLE, KY - Centre College has opened an art exhibit by sculptor Tom Chapin that includes the model of a substantial outdoor piece commissioned from the artist for the campus. The model, which appears in the show along with 20 of Chapin's recent stone carvings, shows the general contours of a work that ultimately will feature nearly 80 feet of sculpted landscape blended with a massive carving made of South African red granite.
Chapin's show and the model will remain through Oct. 19 at the Jones Visual Arts Center on the Centre campus. He will work on the commissioned campus piece throughout the school year.
A New York native, Chapin began sculpting about ten years ago and has won several awards including the Portobello Prize in London, England, and the Jurors Award for Artistic Excellence at the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art. His work is held in collections in England and the United States, and he has been a visiting artist at the University of Western Florida.
His current show at Centre shows his technical mastery of stone-carving as well as an expansive knowledge of history and literature, along with a keen wit. One piece, entitled "Blunt Implement," features a 40-inch piece of green slate carved in the shape of club and engraved with lines that mimic computer circuitry.
Another work, which utilizes a piece of limestone nearly six feet long, is carved in an undulating shape and has the evocative title, "Back When Dreams Were Memories." Other works are carved in stone ranging from Italian marble to black granite, with engravings inspired by ancient pictographs, modern science and the natural world.
The show is open weekdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and other times by appointment with the Centre art department. There is no admission charge.
The commissioned work will reflect a new trend in Chapin's work, in which stone carvings are placed outdoors and the surrounding landscape is contoured to become an extension of the work.
Chapin explains that he was inspired and deeply moved by a visit to the Serpent Mound in Peebles, Ohio, where prehistoric people apparently contoured the land to create an elaborate series of ridges and curves that extend for hundreds of feet. Chapin considers the mound "the greatest piece of early American art still in existence," and he wants to emulate its remarkable use of naturally occurring forms.
The piece commissioned for Centre will feature a long, relatively low mound culminating in the intricately carved granite. The work is likely to be placed on the college lawn in front of Olin science hall, where the deep, burnished red of the African granite will contrast with grass and trees.
The work is being underwritten by donations from friends of the college.
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600 W. Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422