Sunday, February 6, 2011

Split Ring Outside Portland Art Museum

The piece I looked at this month is Split Ring,  a piece done by Clement Meadmore that sits outside of the Portland Art Museum. It is a massive steel sculpture, what Meadmore is known for. He began his career as a aeronautical engineer and studied industrial design and designed furniture for several years before he began making welded sculptures. 

Split Ring is a minimalistic sculpture, a work stripped down to its most fundamental features. It is comprised of only one material as far as we can see, and one main shape. There are implied lines that seem to flow from both ends of the Split Ring, extending out and around in the same way that the ring is formed, into a 360 degree circle. 

Although we can assume that the texture of the steel was different when Split Ring was installed at this location, the wear that has taken place over the years actually gives the sculpture a more interesting texture, and a more natural quality. This is an interesting juxtaposition between the industrial quality of steel and the more humanistic association of rain and dirt that have coated the sculpture unevenly and add more visual interest.

The circular shape of the sculpture also brings a warmth to the piece, as a circle often represents such things as the cycle of life and the connected nature of all things. Visually and rationally it brings a sense of unity to the viewer. The textures and dark color of the piece are a high contrast to the brick wall and foliage surrounding it. 

It is clear that Meadmore paid special attention to the negative space left between the even planes of the two sides of rings. This careful consideration created a beautifully welded sculpture which will live on along with many others placed around the United States and the world long after his passing.

1 comment:

  1. I went to a contemporary art fair in Shanghai recently, which was a real eye-opener. Chinese contemporary art has come leaps and bounds from the watery Zen landscapes to huge canvases of strange-looking beings. The prices being asked and paid were huge too.
    Oriental, if not Chinese, my print of Jean-Léon Gérôme's painting,, bought some time ago from, is as lovely as ever.