Salisbury Sculpture Show announces winners

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 30, 2020

SALISBURY — “Sanctuary” by Roger Martin has won Best in Show in the 2019 Salisbury Sculpture Show.

In its 12th year, the Salisbury Public Art Committee hosted the 10-month long Sculpture Show, with nine art pieces the downtown, five on college campuses, one at Novant Health and one in the West End neighborhood.

The judge for the 2019 show was Ken Lambla, a faculty member at UNC Charlotte who is the founding Dean of the College of Arts and Architecture. He has taught in California, Illinois and North Carolina as well as internationally in the Netherlands, London, Italy, France and Canada. Lambla’s practice in architecture and urban design is focused on the social potential of the built environment and sustainable design.

About the first-place sculpture, Lambla said, “Sanctuary” is a simple turtle’s shell that sits on a slender rod on top of a simple rectangular stand outside the Rowan Public Library in downtown Salisbury. The underside of the shell faces the public/street side and the protective top shell — carapace — sits behind. The form is clearly recognizable and the material is very well executed. The shell’s hollowness evokes the complex relation we currently have with the concept of nature, and the current challenge to the context in which nature survives. The sculpture is quiet but captures the essence of the animal’s skill at withdrawing to contemplate, protect and imagine the inside/outside of our own life. We immediately recognize that we all need some kind of sanctuary.”

Second place went to “Exploratory Unit 02” by Harry McDaniel. The sculpture is adjacent to the sidewalk in Magnolia Park, 126 West Innes St.

About the second-place sculpture, Lambla said, “This aluminum ‘figure’ evokes both human and celestial insect. The artist achieved a balanced form with ambiguous scale, graceful curves and a somewhat stilted ‘movement.’ It clearly exhibits the material worked on by a skilled artist who is not simply making what is already known in his – or our – head. McDaniel states that he kept the H.G. Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds’ in mind during this process. Indeed, the ‘otherworldliness’ of the sculpture presents questions we all ponder.

Third Place went to Charles Pilkey’s “Mesozoic Bench.” The sculpture is located on the front lawn of Livingstone College.

About the third-place sculpture, Lambla said, “This ‘bench’ contrasts two presumably solid materials – stone and steel.  At once figurative and primitive, the artist aims to evoke a forested landscape from the Mesozoic Era (252-66 million years ago) otherwise known as the ‘Middle Life’ or ‘Age of Conifers.’ The placement of the stones perched precariously on the steel ‘spines’ gives character, gesture, and animation to an otherwise calm composition. The horizontal platform invites sitting and resting one’s head and back against materials not far from being mined from the earth, and yet those stones are quite familiar to us all. The work creates its own contemplative environment most likely drawn from the artists many years teaching in Japan.”

The Sculpture Show will remain in place until early spring. Sculpture show brochures are available at the Visitors’ Center, City Hall, Rowan Public Library and downtown restaurants and shops. The Public Art Committee’s 2020 show is scheduled for installation in mid-April.