Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Mighty Oak for a Steel Magnolia?

Tillie Fowler, formerly President of Jacksonville’s City Council from 1982-85, and then, (1992-2000) she served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, died in 2005. As one of Jacksonville’s most beloved politicians (there were about 500 people at her memorial service), it does not surprise me that she is being honored with a monument. What is surprising however, is the more progressive nature, not of the imagery, but of the process.

From the artist, Brower Hatcher’s proposal {it is, ahem a bit purple}: “I have designed a work that embodies the strength, beauty and grace of Tillie Fowler. Tillie's spirit will be captured in the image of a magnificent oak tree – strong, protective of her community, concerned for all and always reaching out.”

After looking over Hatcher’s work, it seems safe to say that there’s definitely a preoccupation with the mathematically generated, in keeping with his engineering background. According to the Cultural Council, Hatcher attended Vanderbilt University School of Engineering in Nashville, TN and received his degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in New York. He studied sculpture at St. Martins School of Art in London, U.K. and served on the faculty at St. Martins and Bennington College. In his career as an artist, Hatcher has built over 40 public art projects throughout the U.S. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship and an honorary Ph.D. from the State University of New York.

Though the above drawings have a kind of geeky coolness to them, they also remind me of fractals, so I am withholding judgement until the piece is installed. Installation begins on the Northbank Riverwalk beginning March 30, and is projected to last about five days.

While in Jacksonville, Hatcher will present a lecture for the public on April 1, at 7:00 p.m. at MOCA.


Anonymous said...

Is that thing designed to receive
That is about as close to an oak
tree as peas is to possums.
Oh well, he's the Great Artist...


James said...

Great post. I knew she died- but didn't know any details about the proposed memorial. Thanks for covering this.

Nancy White said...

Is it a tribute to how our Ms. Tillie was like a cool breeze on a summer's day? 'cuz that looks like a crazy big ol' metal fan to me. Does it plug in somewhere, or is it solar powered? :)