Ellipsoid, 2010 Dimensions 8' x 8' x 8'
Over 100 years ago, the Univeristy of Wisconsin - Madison's leaders rallied behind the ideas of a “Combination University”, one in which its inhabitants felt, witnessed, and worked to strengthen their connection to each other and to their place. As time passed, however, this “implied community also involved rational physical expansion” and in its inception in 1959, the new Chadbourne Hall had shown the University the shape of things to come. Constructed from a Y shape that dictated the form of the building, it stretched upward in vast difference to its counterpart and other half, Barnard Hall. Barnard Hall and its handsome style of architecture, that had for so many years characterized the buildings on Madison’s campus, began to get replaced by more cost effective, space-efficient “high density structures”.
Through my working process, I was drawn over and over again to the footprint of Chadbourne Hall, the “Y shape” claimed with functionally allowing the Residence Hall to “retain the gracious, intimate atmosphere [that] had characterized the Residence Hall program at Wisconsin”. I have come to see this form as a strong, bold, powerful shape, lying almost hidden in its directness while boldly and unabashedly reflecting both simplicity and dignity.
The “Y shape” became my found object and I challenged myself to find out whether or not I could create a sculpture utilizing only this shape, ascertaining that the sculpture would have to fully and effectively come together in combination and connection; symbolic of unification while conveying the appearance of togetherness. I gave myself the task to create a new “high density structure” that would stand in reflection of the past as a marking of present looking towards its unfolding future; as a form standing in connection with the spirit of this place.
I worked to combine the repeated shapes in close proximity to each other, to reflect protection through actual and implied connection and freedom through its open areas.
I worked to have the form speak of structure and development: structure in materiality and stance, and development in the linking together of like elements in the creation of something new.
I worked with the given sequence of space, from the footprint of the 1959 Chadbourne Hall, to create a new sequence in place - outside. And lastly, for the purpose of this statement, I worked to make space present in this sculpture and worked to make it intense in additional attention to light and transparency, and the notion of inside versus outside.
My solution: Ellipsoid.
The details of this piece call for one sculpture, standing approximately 8 ft. tall and with a diameter of 8 ft. across. It is proposed to be made of 20 pieces of 2’ x 2’ x ½” stainless steel, water jet cut and slid together. Once all of the pieces have been put in place and tacked, all connections will be welded, edges finished, and the entire form painted, white.
The finished location of this sculpture will be in front of Chadbourne Hall, at 420 N. Park Street in Madison, WI.