After interviewing the four great finalists and reviewing the comments from the public who studied the models and accompanying narratives, the panel charged with the selection determined that the two unique sculptures for Norman will be created by Jonathan Hils (Silver Lining) and Craig Swan (Sun Dial) — both of Norman — for placement in the 200 and 300 blocks of West Main. The other two finalists were Stan Carroll (Shading Settlers) and Hugh Meade (Norman Guidepost), both of Oklahoma City. The sculptures will be installed in the fall of 2012.
After the commissioned sculptures are completed and installed, they will be donated to the City of Norman’s growing collection of public art. The Public Arts Board continues to develop new community art projects and strives to expand Norman’s reputation of being an arts supportive community. These projects are supported by donations to the Art in Public Places Fund through utility bills and fund raising efforts by the board.
Swan moved to Norman in 2009 after receiving his B.F.A. in sculpture from Boston University. He has been teaching sculpture at the Fire House Art Center for the past three years. Sun Dial is a steel piece — made brick red with a chemical patina — that features cutouts of scissor-tailed flycatchers that will cast shadows on the surrounding sidewalk.
“Since moving to Norman, I have been in awe of the varied avian life with which I have been presented, but the flycatcher stands out as a uniquely acrobatic, capable and beautiful creature,” Swan stated in his original proposal. “I have also always been intrigued by cohesive juxtapositions of two-dimensional and three-dimensional form. The cutouts will not only be compositionally interesting in the steel, but also in the shadows cast by the piece.”
Hils has been a sculptor and educator for over 14 years, exhibiting work across the United States. The New Hampshire native received his B.F.A. from Georgia State and M.F.A. from Tulane before joining the University of Oklahoma as a professor. Silver Lining works to tie together the ideas of Norman as a weather research hub and dynamic artistic community through a cloud-form shaped by a manipulation of Norman’s downtown city streets and laid out as a weather vane.
“Given the nature of weather as something that collectively ties the Norman community together and generates our special sense of place, I wanted to use the cloud as a metaphor for change and perception, while referencing that sense of wonder that comes from looking at the clouds in the sky,” Hils said in his proposal. “Weather is an innate part of feeling alive while also connecting the community within a common experience and understanding.”
For further information concerning this or other public art projects in Norman, please contact the PAB at the Norman Arts Council) Office at MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main Street, Norman, OK (405-360-1162).