New outdoor sculpture arrives on campus
DANVILLE, KY - A new outdoor sculpture commissioned for Centre College has arrived on campus. The 12,000-pound granite carving, "The Palace of Memory," was delivered by truck and crane on Thursday, April 20. Artist Tom Chapin was honored in a brief ceremony near the stone on Tuesday, April 25. The college plans a formal dedication during Centre's homecoming celebration in the fall.
The sculpting of the stone is complete, but two more weeks of work may be required to complete the surrounding landform designed by Chapin as part of the total installation. The landform is a serpentine mound that winds its way a total of about 80 feet from the edge of the stone.
"Palace of Memory" reflects 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 says he was inspired 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 granite portion of the work mimics the oblong contours of a scarab beetle, an important symbol in many ancient cultures. Chapin has etched the surface of the granite with subtle designs. The sides and bottom of the stone bear etchings of important literary and religious quotations, scientific ideas and mathematical formulae, representing the many facts and ideas that are part of human collective memory.
A New York native and the great great-grandson of novelist Herman Melville, Chapin began sculpting about 10 years ago. He has won 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.
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Public information coordinator: Patsi Barnes Trollinger