2 April 2016

Sketch designs

I've been working with GWP residents and UTC Oxfordshire students as part of my design process for new public artwork at Great Western Park.

From this foundation I've now produced three three initial sculpture designs.

Rather than make a piece that directly represents any one of the great scientific endeavours local to Didcot, the public artwork aims to celebrate the “Science Vale” as a whole.

As an alternative to etched metal, the front surface of the hand could be facets of plate glass, with sandblasted patterns of text and imagery.

Another option is for the surface to be made with thick cast glass panels. Original designs with diagrams, formulae etc. would be made in clay slabs, then reproduced in thick cast glass. Illuminated from within, these would create a spectacular and colourful effect.

Examples of cast glass artworks in my previous public artworks.

Stepping into the sculpture reveals a completely different experience. The top half of the sculpture is internally mirrored, creating a wonderful kaleidoscopic effect.Looking up into the tapering form creates the illusion of a massive globe, of which the sculpture is a fraction of the size, built up from colour with radiating lines of light.

Tapered kaleidoscope test models.

At night the nature of the internal reflections is changed, with a dark “globe”instead of light that responds to the viewer moving and shading the various light sources.

During my sessions at UTC Oxfordshire with students and residents, discussions arose of how the public artwork might represent science as an overall endeavour.

Models from sessions with students and residents at UTC Oxfordshire.

Personally, I find it hugely inspiring that scientists are improving human knowledge, and finding ways to apply this knowledge practically. Whilst any particular scientist or team will be focused on a particular task or theory, they are also part of a network of peers. This network extends internationally as specialisms and branches of science overlap, creating a global expansion of knowledge.

This concept of human understanding improving from the sum of many individual endeavours is what I seek to embody with this design.

Scientists use an array of tools to study nature, and this artwork is all about looking at things in different ways in order to discover their properties.

The idea for this artwork came about during my first session at UTC Oxfordshire, as one student tried different compositions with her crystal design.  Another participant’s study of a DNA molecule is also very much in keeping with the overall concept.

All the students’ artworks were inspired by local science centres, with particularly strong visual prompts from the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and Diamond Light Source.

So those are my initial ideas, and if you have any comments or ideas, I would love to hear them.

All being well, over the next few weeks we will finalise a location and which will enable me to start working out a detailed sculpture design.

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