How I Did It Shelley Parriott

The Art of the Medium: How I found the perfect material

Years ago, I was invited to create a large-scale public work.  I knew little or nothing about durable materials that would sustain free-standing forms, withstand all-weather conditions and interactions with the public … and little or nothing about metal.  An additional challenge in working on this scale was my need for the structurally sound sculpture to describe an illusory / ethereal quality.

Inventing transparent Color Field Sculpture involved a long experimental process.  I went on a journey of trial and error before discovering the correct balance between enduring material strength and the desired “immaterial” appearance.  We struggled to weld artistic vision to technical necessity.  Initially, the sheer, painterly components were too fragile:  indoors they couldn’t hold up to handling by curious viewers, outdoors they blew over or were crushed by heavy snow. It seemed impossible. But then, it happened. As light passed through the perforated aluminum, a surprising visual phenomenon transformed heavy gauge industrial metal into airy fields of color!

Now, as sculptures are ever-larger, viewers become participants in the artistic experience. They spontaneously enter into and walk through chromatic forms, interacting with blended hues from the outside looking in and the inside looking out – exposed to new perspectives.

My involvement with Blink Art Resource led to collaboration with Art Design Consultants to create a large sculpture for the new Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. It has been extremely exciting for us to feature an installation in such an optimistic and healing atmosphere and to see that overcoming numerous challenges resulted in a successful sculptural concept that can be shared with the community. And now, with Blink providing critical connections, there are unlimited possibilities.

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