Disturbing the Silence

Poet Wendell Berry advises those who practice his craft to “make poems that don’t disturb the silence from which they come.” The same suggestion could be made for the construction of environmental art. It is often made in locations that are perfectly at peace. Creators of outdoor art risk disturbing an existing balance when they go to work on the land. An artist in the environment might do his, or her, most refined and sensitive work by finding a way to do nothing more than point out the facts of what is already there. But then again, maybe that’s the job best left to poets. Artists working in three dimensions engage the physical world spacially, and the spacial world physically. We can’t help getting our hands dirty when our hearts open to a place on earth.

My next project is a piece of figurative sculpture in the landscape. It’s an art piece and a piece of utility. The dry stone construction will enclose a burial site on private property in north-central Vermont. A former horse pasture will be the site of a memorial in the shape of a horse’s eye. In phase 1, the shape will be open to the grave plots. In phase 2, to be completed at an unknown time in the future, the central portion will be covered over with a dry stone mound that will represent the iris of the eye. Completed, the crypt will be sealed by the polished pupil of a heavenward-gazing eye.

The 1:50 scale model I sketched in clay will soon be 3-D scanned to establish the points in space I will need for transfer to a full-scale, guide frame.
© All rights reserved Dan Snow In the Company of Stone

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3 Responses to Disturbing the Silence

  1. Sean Donnelly December 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    I guess as builders we need to compromise sometimes and try not to force the stone too much. Either way the symbolism and intention of the monument will have strong energy and meaning to your client. It will be an exciting piece to build I’m sure.

  2. Dan Snow November 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    I am glad you checked it out, Sean. I will be curious to see how the finished work reads at ground level; whether it stays a horses eye or becomes simply a collection of stone hillocks. We shall see!

  3. Sean Donnelly November 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    sounds like it will be a pretty powerful monument. Can’t wait to see it unfold.

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