Library’s outdoor sculpture has undercurrent of meaning

June 15, 2011

Installation of library's outdoor sculpture

The library’s outdoor sculpture entitled “Undercurrent” was recently installed by a team of people led by Gail Simpson and Aristotle Georgiades of Actual Size Artworks of Stoughton, Wisconsin and included Dean Allen of Dean Allen Studios.  For several days, the artists poured concrete, measured and drilled things, and generally looked more like construction guys than artists.  Who knew that artists needed to have an exceptional understanding of math, landscaping, and fabrication techniques…and a sense of humor, too?

I remain impressed with the vision that Gail and Aris have of their art.  They want it to be life-size, interactive, thought-provoking, and fun.  It is all that and more!

They added library-related quotations to the top of the pieces this week.  Several of them can only be read if you move around to the back  of the sculptures (unless you can read upside down like a good children’s librarian).  What a clever way to engage people.

Come visit us and view the art.  In fact, you can do more than look; you can sit right down on our sculpture and experience it.  Have a seat and read the carefully selected quotations while pondering the meaning of libraries, or reading, or life.

Here is the story that Gail and Aris provided about their sculpture:

Undercurrent” is inspired by the beautiful horizontal lines of the Library and by the presence of the Rock River in this community.  The curving pattern made by the clay-tiled roof and the repeating arches in the architectural design were our point of departure.   The flowing lines reminded us of the surface of moving water, a composition that is hypnotic and visually pleasing. We wanted to design a sculpture that would create a sense of contemplation and discovery, and also to express one of the unique aspects of Fort Atkinson.

The form of the sculpture appears as a flowing horizontal element to be located in the green space outside the building.   The structure is composed of gently rolling silver bands that react with light and shadow and will take on different appearances depending on the time of day and season. The sculpture will interact with the landscaping and provide seating when weather permits.  The silver bands rise and fall like water over boulders.  During overcast days the brushed finish of the aluminum will take on a cool appearance; in the sun the silver finish will glow brightly.  In the winter, snow will mound in sculpted drifts on the sculpture, creating a beautiful, contemplative experience year round.  The granite boulders used in the sculpture are of Wisconsin origin.

The unique design of the Library inspired our wish to help unite this building to this exceptional place.  We feel that the expressive qualities of “Undercurrent” are well suited to the role of the Library in the community and will enhance the experience of the library for the residents, volunteers and staff.   

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