“Sanctuary” by Roger Martin has won Best in Show in the 2019 Salisbury Sculpture Show.
In its 12th year, the Salisbury Public Art Committee has hosted the 10-month long, award-winning Sculpture Show, with nine art pieces enlivening the downtown, five on college campuses, one at Novant Health, and one in the West End Neighborhood.
The judge for the 2019 show was Ken Lambla, AIA, a faculty member at UNC Charlotte who is the founding Dean of the College of Arts + Architecture. He has taught in California, Illinois, and North Carolina, as well as internationally in The Netherlands, London (UK), Italy, France, and Canada. Lambla’s practice in architecture and urban design is focused on the social potential of the built environment and sustainable design.
"I sought to evaluate the piece on its own merits as a work of art as well as consider each historically and within a particular environment," said Ken Lambla. "Art becomes personal very quickly, and each piece chosen represents an intellectual challenge to the viewer. The viewer is not a passive observer, but these particular pieces activated several debates in my mind – about form, about material and craft, about precedent, about exploration, about implication, and about humanity."
Judge Lambla provided the following recap of the winning entries:
“Sanctuary” is a simple turtle’s shell that sits on a slender rod on top of a simple rectangular stand outside the Rowan Public Library. The underside of the shell faces the public/street side and the protective top shell (carapace) sits behind. The form is clearly recognizable and the material is very well executed. The shell’s hollowness evokes the complex relation we currently have with the concept of nature, and the current challenge to the context in which nature survives. The sculpture is quiet but captures the essence of the animal’s skill at withdrawing to contemplate, protect and imagine the inside/outside of our own life. We immediately recognize that we all need some kind of sanctuary.
Second Place is “Exploratory Unit 02” by Harry McDaniel. The sculpture is adjacent to the sidewalk in Magnolia Park, 126 West Innes Street. This aluminum “figure” evokes both human and celestial insect. The artist achieved a balanced form with ambiguous scale, graceful curves and a somewhat stilted “movement.” It clearly exhibits the material worked on by a skilled artist who is not simply making what is already known in his – or our – head. McDaniel states that he kept the H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” (1898) in mind during this process. Indeed, the “otherworldliness” of the sculpture presents questions we all ponder.
Third Place goes to Charles Pilkey’s “Mesozoic Bench.” The sculpture is located on the front lawn of Livingstone College. This “bench” contrasts two presumably solid materials – stone and steel. At once figurative and primitive, the artist aims to evoke a forested landscape from the Mesozoic Era (252-66 million years ago) otherwise known as the “Middle Life” or “Age of Conifers.” The placement of the stones perched precariously on the steel “spines” gives character, gesture, and animation to an otherwise calm composition. The horizontal platform invites sitting and resting one’s head and back against materials not far from being mined from the earth, and yet those stones are quite familiar to us all. The work creates its own contemplative environment most likely drawn from the artists many years teaching in Japan.
The Sculpture Show will remain in place until early spring 2020. Sculpture show brochures are available at the Visitors’ Center, City Hall, Rowan Public Library and many downtown restaurants and shops. The Public Art Committee looks forward to the 2020 show, which is scheduled for installation in mid-April.