Mint Hill, N.C. sculptor Charles Pilkey has won Best in Show in the 2017 Salisbury Sculpture Show “Discover What’s Outside.” Judge Harriet Hoover provided the following recap of the winning entries:
“Charles Pilkey’s striking steel sculpture, ARK, is a thought provoking and dynamic work that is deserving of close examination and contemplation. From afar, a semi circular shape, lobbed at a diagonal, is tilted at a steep diagonal that resembles a sundial. From up close, one observes a wooden-clad boat, with its lower half studded with physical elements that resemble a large circuit board. At the boat’s base is a standard boat propeller. Along the top ridge and along the side of the boat, small animals - giraffes, elephants, dolphins, and snakes navigate the surface and portals of this storied ship. This ship is about to embark on a great journey, but seems a bit clunky and ill-equipped for launching into the atmosphere.
Pilkey’s work uses the iconic biblical Ark as a visual framework to contemplate the complex issues of our times - from the effects of climate change to animal extinction. His work encourages us to come to terms with the fragility of our planet and consider the technologies, ancient or contemporary, that will assist our survival. The overall sculpture’s reference to a sundial points to the urgency of the planet’s situation.
Formally, Pilkey’s work is beautifully constructed and rewards the viewer from multiple perspectives. From the carefully crafted animals, to the the spinning propeller, Pilkey’s wonderful use of detail brings the viewer in and keeps them there long enough to consider the weight of the world.
Second place goes to Cathy Perry’s Oasis II. The delicate steel limbs of this sculpture seem to sway effortlessly- cattails and colorful dragonflies dance and soar above the viewer and call up a tranquil natural space. Perry’s deft use of balance, variety, and implied movement make this sculpture a joy to take in. Furthermore, as the viewer takes a closer look, they are rewarded with beautifully painted elements at the base of the sculpture that integrate the surrounding environment with Perry’s lovely meditation of a wetland breeze.
This sculpture also seems like a perfect addition to Easy Street. The long arcs of the cattails highlight the surrounding architectural and landscape forms. It provides a surprising visual respite as a pedestrian moves through the alleyways of Salisbury.
Jim Gallucci’s interactive sculpture, beaming across the farmer’s market plaza, rounds out the top three winners in this year’s Sculpture Show. Its buoyant yellow hue and circular shape invites a passerby to become a participant - to sit and share a secret or daily news. Gallucci also uses a variety of textures and references to the surrounding landscape to create a uniquely private encounter in a very public space. Silhouettes of oak leaves dance above the viewer, referencing the grand trees of the plaza and providing intimacy and shade. Oak Leaf Shade Bench’s graphic sensibility references methods of communication, text, and sound frequencies, and gives us the opportunity to experience communication, in real space and time.”
Steven Hayes’ piece, Speaking Without, was awarded an honorable mention. Although the judge was not able to view Stephen Hayes work in person, she, “was moved by its concept and focus on inclusivity. It provided viewers with an opportunity to learn and focus on our sensory awareness.” The piece was created with wood, hydrostone and metal. According to the artist, “each sign language alphabet/number hand and Braille alphabet/number dot allow people to learn ways to communication without talking.”
This was the ninth year the Salisbury Public Art Committee has hosted the nine-month long sculpture show, with 18 pieces enlivening the downtown and three college campuses. The show was recently honored with two coveted awards - the Centralina Council of Governments 2016 Improving Quality of Life Award and the U.S. Council of Mayors 2016 City Livability Award.
The judge for 2017 was Harriet Hoover, a 2016-17 N.C. Arts Fellowship recipient. Her work has been featured in Art on Paper at the Weatherspoon Art Museum (2014) the People’s Biennial II at The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2014) and at LIGHT Art + Design in Chapel Hill. She has a bachelor’s degree in textile technology and art + design from N.C State University, and a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She currently coordinates studio, teen and college programming at the N.C. Museum of Art.
The show will remain in place until January 2018. Sculpture show brochures are available at the Visitors’ Center, City Hall, Rowan Library and many downtown restaurants and art galleries. The Public Art Committee looks forward to the 2018 show, which is scheduled for installation in late March.