Henderson Art Project

Skyline ll

Julia Ousley

Skyline II, 144” x 120” x 24”  

Historically, sculpture often took the form of commemorative representation; usually statuary on a pedestal or on a building. The figure was a hero, or mythic or religious icon. Modern sculpture absorbed its base and became nomadic, no longer a part of architecture and no longer requiring a base, it could sit upon the ground and be moved. This has given artists license to tie their work to cultural terms rather than place, medium or materials. This freedom allows me to explore the meanings of base, monument, figuration and the forms that my personal experiences suggest.

A career in healthcare left me with a strong interest in the human form and condition. Later, becoming an architect and urban planner instilled in me a love of the grid as the underlying structure of cities and buildings. My art often uses grids and concerns that place where the human condition and the urban environment intersect.

These faceless masses of figures refer to the anonymous nature of people in the urban environment and their reduction to symbols of the individual. While the figures are flat, blank cutouts, they are also textured and complex. They stand like statues at various heights like urban dwellers in a "skyline" of architectural/non-architecture. Like heroic statuary on pedestals, these groups pay homage to the "everyman" inherent in our democratic culture.

These pieces, constructed to be outdoors, are slotted grids that fit together and come apart. They are consistent with my architectural interest in economy of means and my desire to make sculpture that is easily moved and installed. They are similar to KD (knockdown) furniture and I can move them myself with a little help from my friends. This installation is part of a series in different materials and at different scales, from tabletop size to this, the largest.