the Golden Rectangle sculpture at KOAC
The community-based creation shows how collaborative art can be unifying and transformational within communities.
Under the guidance of MISTLa, – a collective formed by sculptor and master builder James Ziegler, sculptor and geometric artist/explorer Bob Stowell, and red seal tradesman and creative metalworker John Gohmann -, the participants built intersecting structural frames and panels based on the polyhedral relationship between the Golden Rectangle and the Icosahedron. The outcome was Merging, a geometric, wooden 12-foot-high contemporary sculpture that resides at the KOAC’s sculpture park grounds intended to test the rigours of time as a public art installation.
A distinctive feature of this geometric exploration is that when a square section is added or removed, the product is another golden rectangle – an action that may be repeated infinitely.
Although the inspirational concepts behind Merging were based on formalisms, the community-based workshop was as much about math, classical aesthetics and contemporary art as it is about team participation and community engagement.
Some twentieth-century architects and artists, including Le Corbusier and Salvador Dalí, have proportioned their works’ dimensions to approximate golden rectangles. The 1927 Villa Stein designed by Le Corbusier is a good example.
In the video composed and edited by James Ziegler, the participants follow instructions about structural details and specifications provided in technical drawings.
“It’s really not so much the output as much as it is the collaborative input into the process within a community—bringing in different people,” Zeigler said. “We would like to do this in other communities. For many people the beauty is about bringing diverse groups together and helping them forge an identity and tell their story.”
Merging was built with a wood frame and clad with sign-grade plywood sheathing, supported on three points with metal anchor plates attached to a triangular base. The sculpture was primed and painted with non-toxic exterior paint. The builders clad the perimeter with a pre-finished metal trim for weatherproofing and to ensure lasting durability.
James Ziegler a multi-faceted artist, builder and innovator, James is an award winning designer with experience in industrial and architectural design, and his creative explorations include paintings, sculptures and woodwork.
Bob Stowell is a Calgary-based sculptor and art educator. While not a mathematician, he has been exploring creative possibilities with 3D geometric models based on the Platonic and Archimedean Solids since the late 1960s. “Learning about truncation and how this could lead to new forms fascinated me, and the possibilities of such operations as stellation stimulated further work,” he said. Although some of Bob’s concrete relief murals and sculptures are in public places in Calgary, he has never exhibited most of his work from 60 years of 3D geometric research.
John Gohmann is an emerging artist grounded in the art of metal. His understanding and sensibility for metals run deep and are traced back to 14 generations of metal workers and innovators. John is a red seal tradesman who was never formally trained in the visual arts. However, he has an intuitive appreciation for form, balance and the industrial aesthetic. As a craftsmen and with years of experience, John knows the inherent beauty in structures found in the balance of materials and quality of joinery. He has played a crucial role in putting together the recent works of Katie Ohe, James Ziegler and Kathryn Dobbin.
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The Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre is a place for art and artists, for the curious, for the novice and for the expert alike – everyone is welcome to visit, to make, to learn and to talk about contemporary art, whether by traversing our sculpture grounds and gardens, or visiting (when appropriate) with our artists in studio or via our digital forums and workshops.
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