Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sky hooks

Neil Dawson, Echo, 1981, photo from Christchurch City Council Artists Register

One of the things I enjoy the most about Neil Dawson's public sculpture is his ability to produce perceptual puzzles which appear effortless, yet involve considerable feats of engineering and construction.

There's a moment of delight and wonderment when you run into a work by Dawson, in which the rest of the world recedes for a moment while you consider the conundrum of an enormous feather changing direction with the prevailing wind (Kahu, Takahanga Marae, Kaikoura); a drop of water creating concentric ripples in the sky (Ripples, Waikato River, Hamilton); or my favourite public sculpture by Dawson, Echo (1981) at the Christchurch Arts Centre, pictured above, which flips back and forth in the mind like a 3-dimensional form by Escher as you walk around it, and which might well be the sculptural equivalent of the Christchurch Style architecture I blogged about yesterday. The works seem to hang in the sky as if by magic; you notice the fine wires which support them much later, if at all.

Just for fun -- here's a photo the big guy took yesterday in Wellington's Civic Square, which shows the everyday world playing a visual trick of its own on Neil Dawson's Ferns.

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