Wethli's Public Art Celebrates Civic Life
Story posted February 06, 2012
Bowdoin Art Professor Mark Wethli's Percent for Art installation at the University of Southern Maine (USM) was honored at a dedication ceremony Feb. 2 in Portland.
Wethli and a crew of all-Bowdoin assistants recently put the finishing touches on a 6-by-35-foot wooden sculpture for USM's Wishcamper Center, home of The Muskie School For Public Service.
The angular, low-relief sculpture, titled Civitas, spans an airy inner courtyard. It is the second of two works Wethli created for the commission. His earlier work, Locus, adorns a large wall of the adjacent Osher Library building.
"In a formal sense, Civitas is a dance of architecturally inspired forms that are meant to suggest both conflict and harmony," noted Wethli in his opening remarks. "It is meant to evoke the ideal process of civic life, community building, and the common good. E pluribus unim, out of many, one." (View an installation slideshow.)
The mural Locus also evokes a sense of place, with a network of black lines reminiscent of roadways, or lines of latitude and longitude, superimposed on a large, green silhouette of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion map.
"Just as map-making renders the three-dimensional world in two dimensions, and public policy projects abstract principles into real life, so do Locus and Civitas represent and symbolize these processes through their structure and design," noted Wethli.
"My ambition for each of these pieces is to create a space that actively places every viewer in the foreground of the events and activities that happen here."
Maine Percent for Art is made possible by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission.
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