By Jerry Williams, Volunteer Docent at Grounds For Sculpture
Here we are again at another turn exploring The Sculpture Foundation’s Sculpture On The Way artwork leading to Grounds For Sculpture. Today we’ll begin our chat turning right from Klockner Road onto East State Street Extension.
While this street is still alive with production, folks who know the area know it was a vibrant factory environment up until the time the NJ State Fair closed at the site of what is today Grounds For Sculpture.
Nestled under a tree canopy on the left is Steve Tobin’s Rebirth. This piece, part of his New Nature series, is made from found steel objects sculpted to appear as though they are growing from the earth.
Across the street is Harry H. Gordon’s Ghat. Ghats are the large steps that lead to the river Ganges in India. They hold special significance in river-based ceremonies. This piece is 12 feet high and made of Vermont marble.
Onward a bit and back to the other side, we see Saint Clair Cemin’s Hood Ornament. If you remember the hood ornaments on cars many years ago, you will connect with this cast bronze piece. Note that it’s placed in front of a tour bus company, an homage to its place in transportation history.
Crossing over once again, we come to Kenneth Payne’s Heart Shadow. While difficult to see while driving by, this cast iron, copper and brass sculpture is named for the dark area on its side. If you remember, glance at it on your way home from Grounds For Sculpture.
Many of you may have thought the next sculpture on the left marks the entrance to Grounds For Sculpture. Daedalus, by Alexander Liberman, is primarily made of pieces of discarded tanks and pipes, cut to form the shapes seen and painted in his trademark red. Daedalus was a Greek architect, inventor and master craftsman and is best known for making the artificial wings his son, Icarus, used to fly.
Back to the right is a sculpture that is not clearly visible to the passing motorist. That’s because it was placed for prime viewing by the folks on the trains heading into the Hamilton NJ Transit Train Station. This 20 foot tall aluminum sculpture is Crossing Paths by Seward Johnson. Motorists can only see the piece from the back. In case you don’t feel up to taking the train to see the front, here’s a frontal view of a life size version of Crossing Paths that was on display at the Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville, NJ.
Just beyond Crossing Paths, in the same field, is Grand Rouge by John Henry. The larger pieces are rooted to the ground yet the smaller ones seem to be attracted to them as if by some powerful magnetic force. Captured in the early morning sun, Big Red sure does live up to its name.
At the end of this field, across from where you turn left on your way to Grounds For Sculpture, is Spirit of Freedom by Andrzej Pitynski. Made of hydrocal, a gypsum product, steel and wood, it stands 65 feet to the tip of the spear and is the tallest piece in Sculpture On The Way. The artist created this piece as a “tribute to the spirit of freedom, to the spirit of chivalry, to bravery, honor and to the friendship between a rider and his horse.”
The last piece we’ll chat about today is just across from Spirit of Freedom at the intersection of East State Street Extension and Sculptors Way. With all the sculptures and a street named for them, we must be getting close to Grounds For Sculpture.
Mobius Strip is another piece by Eva Calder Powel. You may remember her from The Lover’s Knot (Inspired by the Trefoil Knot) from our last chat. Similar to the trefoil knot, it is a mathematical wonder that has no beginning and no end, no top and no bottom.
In our next chat, we’ll digress a bit and look at some pieces on the way that are not officially part of Sculpture On The Way, yet they fully complement the program. After that, we’ll take a look at the remaining pieces of Sculpture On The Way. Finally, we’ll chat a bit about why I took on this project and I’ll tell a few anecdotes about the process. Thanks for sitting a spell with me today and I hope to see you back here.
Jerry Williams remains a docent/volunteer at Grounds For Sculpture.