The Decatur Artway, an outdoor sculpture gallery, began in 2015 with five sculptures on display and a new phase is added each year. Each set of sculptures is on loan for two years, creating a dynamic rotating collection of public art. To get a personal tour of the pieces, with narration provided by the artists, download the free Otocast app from iTunes or Google Play.
Artway Phase 5
Artist’s statement: Recently my art is dedicated to the creation of sculptures that are made of intersecting planes of welded steel. These sculptures, which I call “stardusts,” are metaphors for the human condition, which is a complex union of the opposing forces of fragility and strength. Just as the planes of steel that compose my work are juxtaposed, we as people are interdependent, woven in a complex web of interconnected forces.
The stardust form is inspired by a rock formation commonly known as a desert rose. This rock can be found throughout the high plains of Mexico, Utah, and all the way to the Rockies. Each stardust sculpture reflects my fascination with this wonder of nature. My “stardusts” have been described as coral from the sea, flora from the land, snowflakes from the sky, and meteors from the stratosphere.
Tidal Reach is intended to suggest how it is often difficult to recognize connections and boundaries. As its title implies, the artwork references the unseen gravitational forces of the sun, moon, and earth that create our tides. Specifically “tidal reach” is a term used to indicate the farthest point upstream where a river is affected by tidal fluctuations. This fascinates me because determining such a point of equilibrium with any exactitude seems a near impossibility. Its indeterminate boundary reminds us that we are always on the cusp of realization – connected by what we know and can validate through observation, to that which is undiscernible but exists nonetheless.
Artist’s statement: Most of my sculptural works are statements about environmental concerns at the local, regional, or national level. I have made work about seismic activity caused by fracking in Van Buren County and other counties in Arkansas, and across the nation. Other works are influenced by climate change and use or abuse of natural resources. Shifting Patterns can be seen as a microcosm or macrocosm of how all the parts in nature fit together. Changing or shifting one part affects the whole and can make everything out of balance.
Artist’s statement: For Reach, my starting point is the circle. As a thematic symbol, it reaches out to me with a cleanliness of shape, present in our everyday life, and the fact that it has no corners – just one beautiful line with no beginning, middle or end. The circle is an incredible spiritual shape that invites interpretation. I use the entire circle, whole and complete, contrast it with segments of the circle, and yet other times will use other geometric shapes to make circles, or shapes that have a circular element to them. The lyrical, caressing rings meander, cross over each other, and form beautiful contemporary sculptures that suggest the pathways of life, the forces of nature or emotions of our humanity.
Blue Cube is an abstract painted steel sculpture depicting cubes in motion. They represent our universe in a geometric form, balanced and orbiting each other. There is contrast between the diagonal lines and forms depicting growing crystals of steel cubes as it appears in nature. The blue reminds me of the constant growth and rebirth of our planet Earth. The cubes form can be interpreted as rising or in motion reveling this elegant growth. I found creating this sculpture a challenge and a way to express my feelings about nature, the cosmos, the cycle of life, growth and continuum. The interplay of shape, forms, space and colors changes as you move around the sculpture. Between nature and the sculpture, I am condensing time and space. They are ever changing.
Artway Phase 4
Artist’s statement: “Through the pain and suffering
That 400 years of American torture has brought
Although stereotyped, demonized, and ostracized
Black Women are HERE
They curve and contort their bodies and spirits
Through the anguish and shame that history has brought
They stand tall, monumental, and strong as steel
Unbreakable and unmovable
Beautiful, resilient, and dignified
Our mother, sister, humanly human
Black women are
and will always be
Because she is
HERE – Human . Eternal . Relevant . Empowered”
Artist’s statement: “I create art to connect community, explore culture and construct guideposts for life. Weaving stories, warming the creative soul, and bringing happiness to the heart are just a few of the objectives of my work.
I use rugged materials and incorporate symbols that embrace aspects of a place to created bridges between generations of people from diverse backgrounds. Popsicles is a sculpture inspired by childhood vacations and the roadside Americana experienced along those journeys.”
Artist’s statement: My work is a sculptural exploration of abstract form with steel. Mainly composed of geometric and planer elements that revolve and intersect, my sculpture sometimes resembles architecture or figurative poses. I’m heavily influenced by naturally occurring geometry on both micro and macro scales. When exploring form, I like to apply laws that mimic those found in nature in order to provide a framework for interesting direction.
Undulation captures wave-like forms constricted to a thin cylindrical shape. The work is entirely made of seam-welded steel panels with a sea-greenish paint to contrast with the red oxidized edges. Undulation started as a combination of curved pieces of scrap metal from a previous project. With no original model dictating the fabrication of the piece, creating Undulation was an improvisation. It was built from the center outwards; each new component a reaction to balance the form and flow visually.
Artist’s statement: “In the game of chess, the king cannot move into a threatening position. If the situation arises that the king cannot move at all without being threatened, it creates a no-win/no-lose condition called a stalemate. This Stalemate is a sculptural work of three verticals. My concern in making it was the interaction of the curved areas with the straights. Playing them off each other by arranging the verticals at various angles created additional shapes in the negative space between these suggested chess pieces. You might say that there are five verticals, three positives and two negatives. The visual interplay of these abstract shapes is intended to suggest the game of chess.
My works are made from sheet aluminum. I cut, bend and weld pieces into a semi-preconceived form. I say “semi” because as the sculpture progresses, forms may be changed, ideas altered, pieces added or subtracted before the final object is achieved After grinding and finishing I apply primer and paint. The paint not only protects, but gives me the ability to add color. Some works are painted in one solid color, and others have several colors on various planes. Sometimes I use a base color, with a variety of additional colors and brushwork.”
Artist’s statement: “Tapping into unusual imagery with large, expressive botanical forms that incorporate a sense of organic architecture, this 17-foot sculpture is made of welded steel rods, like a spider web with cross braces that reinforce the material. The “skin” is covered with lace and adds a texture found in my outdoor works. This piece is an outrageous, colorful version of an infamous bloom of the nightshade family – brugmansia – with a mysterious spider inside. Like the spider, I lure the viewer in to contemplate the luscious colors and materials. My sculptures are hybrids, mythologies, and metaphors about flowers. My interest in botany and herbalism inform my inspiration in the studio. My goal is to represent the feminine mystique on a grand scale.”
Artist’s statement: “Perhaps it sounds saccharine or maudlin, but the sculpture I call Flying grew out of my happy marriage of 56 years. The man holds up the woman. The woman, held aloft, reaches out for birds and celestial things, symbols of what is important in life, savoring happy times.”
Current Artway Sculptures
A Refusal to Stop and Ask for Directions
Shelter II (basics)
This Is Something We Had to Go Through
No Longer on View
Phil Proctor (artist)
Earth, Water, Fire, Wind
Artist team: BFR lab (Daniel Baerlecken, Matthias Frei and Judith Reitz) and Sabri Gokmen; fabrication: Digital Fabrication Lab, Jacob Tompkins, and Georgia Institute of Technology
The Decatur Artway is presented by the Decatur Arts Alliance in partnership with the Decatur Tourism Bureau and the Decatur Downtown Development Authority.