Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Subjects, inspiration, and alternative themes

I chose the architecture of Albert Pretzinger for the subject inspiration of my sculptures. But as you will see I left that decision flexible and the subject evolved in a very different direction.

I locked down the style inspiration to Charles Sheeler's Stacks in Celebration but I left the door open to alternatives for the subject inspiration. It is not that I didn't care about the subject, instead I saw that I could achieve my goals for the sculpture with a wide variety of subject matter and I wanted to leave the decision open until I could do more research and get feedback from the patrons of the commission;  the DML ReImagining Works art board.

Commercial Building - Photo by Greg Hume
In the request for proposals from ReImagining Works it mentioned that the Electra C. Doren library building was designed by Albert Pretzinger so I did some homework on Pretzinger.  Pretzinger and his firm were the architects for a lot of buildings in the Dayton area. They were responsible for many of Dayton's iconic buildings. Plenty of buildings to choose from for subject inspiration.  I thought it would be a great connection to use them as the subject for the sculptures connecting Dayton history and this specific library building. 

I decided to make eight sculpture panels based on the size and the arrangement of the fence section plans. That gave me a lot of space to work with. Each panel would have depicted a different Dayton building by Pretzinger or his firm.  I hadn't chosen the final set of buildings at the time of the proposal. The list of potentials includes the Electra C. Doren library itself, the Commercial Building, Memorial Hall, Dayton Daily News building, the First Lutheran Church, Fire Station 14, the Reibold building, and many others.

I liked the idea of including Electra C. Doren library as the subject of one of the panels. And I liked the physical presence of MemorialHall (also by Pretzinger) so I wanted to include that one too. Other than these two I knew there were several good building images of Pretzinger's work that would make great aesthetics for the remaining 6 panels.

I felt that the Pretzinger theme this was an appropriate theme for Dayton's industrial history as celebrated through it's monumental public buildings. But there were other ways to honor Dayton that I entertained and put in the proposal to offer to the patrons of the commission:

  • Alternative 1: Iconic Architecture - Instead of just Pretzinger’s architecture I could depict iconic Dayton architecture regardless of who designed it.

  • Alternative 2: Invention - Instead of Dayton architecture I could depict Dayton’s history of invention and/or manufacturing; e.g. flight, cash registers, zipper, pop-top, heart-lung machine, steel furnace, ice cream cone, etc. all invented in Dayton.

The board liked my style and subject proposal but suggested a variation on my alternatives. They suggested that the sculptures include buildings important to the North Dayton neighborhood of this library branch and not just Pretzinger's and not just iconic downtown Dayton buildings. They asked if I could include 3 panels on buildings just from North Dayton.

My first reaction was; "Does North Dayton have anything more than houses? I need a tour guide to learn more about North Dayton." I was showing my ignorance but the board was very helpful and connected me to experts in North Dayton. I got the insights I needed and suggested back to the board that ALL the panels be North Dayton buildings.  More on how I got to that decision in another post ...

No comments:

Post a Comment