OSWEGO — As SUNY Oswego’s third biennial exhibition of outdoor sculptures prepares to move in to the academic quad this summer, the sculptures of 2016-18 prepare to move back to their creators — except one, a contemporary and symbolic birdhouse that has moved to a concrete pad just north of Tyler Hall.
Rochester sculptor Duncan Chase, the art studios technician for SUNY Brockport, donated “Arc #2” to SUNY Oswego.
More than 20 feet tall, the composition in cast bronze, iron cedar, sheet copper, zinc, brass, mild steel and welded steel took up permanent residence June 21 adjacent to the site of the college’s iron pours and ceramic firings.
The artist, who investigates the point at which the human and animal worlds collide, said the sculpture’s recent and current orientation — to the north, toward Lake Ontario — is no accident.
“The sculpture is site-specific for here, with the lake,” said Chase, who in making the gift said he is focusing his efforts these days on smaller works. “Realistically, it’s a birdhouse. It’s about protection. It’s meant to perpetuate wildlife. The nautical themes in this sculpture support that sense of protection.”
The birds — some chickadees formerly took up residence and the door is wide open for purple martins — help fertilize the earth mounded up around the sculpture’s bases, welcoming the flowers that will be planted there, he said.
Tyler Art Gallery Director Michael Flanagan, who co-organizes the public sculpture exhibitions with sculptor and art faculty member Benjamin Entner, expressed gratitude for Chase’s gift.
“It’s very contemporary, and I think sends the message when you’re approaching the art building that it’s a place of great creativity,” Flanagan said. “With the iron pours and the ceramic firings, it helps create an outdoor corridor of creativity.”
Later this month, six more sculptures — three by artists who’ve previously exhibited here — will start rising on pads surrounding the grove of maples between Marano Campus Center and Penfield Library.
For more information about sculpture and numerous other studio disciplines, visit oswego.edu/art.