Concrete with oyster shells, cow hair, pine strapping, kudzu vines, clear glass marbles
5 elements, 10' x 6' x 16" each
Commissioned by the Arts Festival of Atlanta with support from the Cook and Ingle Co., Dalton, GA
The impetus for this piece came from seeing the ruins of a tabby church on St. Helena Island, South Carolina (http://www.sciway.net/sc-photos/beaufort-county/chapel-of-ease.html), on the way to visit African-American folk artist Sam Doyle. Tabby is a mixture of cement, sand, and oyster shells indigenous to the coastal south. The sanctuary was called a ‘Chapel of Ease’ because it was built (c.1740) close to plantations on the island and easier to get to than churches in the nearest mainland town, Beaufort. The five portals that comprise this work naturally functioned as a means to walk through and around the site. And because each “chapel” had a different surface aggregate, they invited exploration and touch. Although the work was to be installed in Piedmont Park for only ten days during the Festival, I wanted it to read as if it had been there for many years. The site—“Atlanta’s Central Park”—lent them a credibility that reinforced their sense of history. This project was the first time I experienced the public gravitating to my work and pausing to take pictures with it. “Placemaking” was an unheard of term in 1984, but I was aware that I had given importance to a section of the park in ways that have informed my later public commissions.