It’s good to be president—especially if you’re president of Columbus College of Art & Design, you’re also an artist, and you have the impulse to create a site-specific installation on the campus quad.
CCAD President Dennison W. Griffith recently completed a snow fence sculpture on the quad, which will be in place until spring.
The installation was built over two days and is the seventh such piece Griffith has undertaken in the last several decades. Construction of the sculptures is fairly improvisational, and largely driven by observation and responses to the sites where they are installed.
“In the case of the CCAD piece, I have been gazing at the quad from my office here on the second floor of the Canzani Center,” said Griffith. “There is a gently curving seat wall that bisects the quad, which is surrounded by a bed of crushed, brick-red, gravel-like material. The general arc of the CCAD piece and the way it is perforated near its midpoint, with a break that one can walk through, are meant to generally mirror the seat wall.”
Griffith and a crew of students laced together the snow fencing to form undulating waves that work with the natural rise and fall of the surrounding grounds.
“The piece uses the elevation to good effect, and this elevation is amplified by the ever-higher stacking of shorter fence pieces,” said Griffith. “At that focal point the fence functions less organically than the surrounding sections, and it begins to compare itself more to the adjacent architecture. Thus, this piece lives a bit in both the natural and architectural worlds.”
With the plan to leave the piece up through the winter, Griffith hopes students and visitors will come and stroll through it.
“This was fun to do, and it was really satisfying to have a number of students pitch in to help,” said Griffith. “I’m eager to see it covered in snow and melding seamlessly with the snow on the ground around it. However, it’s also satisfying to see how, both at ground level and seen from the upper floors of surrounding buildings, the red of the snow fence echoes the red of the decorative gravel bed nearby.”
Griffith’s first snow fence piece was an indoor installation in the Short North, Columbus’s arts district. He has done outdoor pieces in Amesville, OH (just outside of Athens); in Cleveland at Edgewater Park; in Mentor, OH, at the Holden Arboretum; at ArtPark in Lewiston, NY, and at SUNY Buffalo (when it was Buffalo State College.)
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