Gathered natural materials
As an installation artist I seek to create works that interact with – and are informed by — the locations in which they are created. I enjoy working outside, with the natural environment guiding the final project. I am drawn to open, organic spaces, and all of my work seeks to highlight the interplay between entropy and natural order. I see the action of the gathering of materials as a ritual. It can take many days or weeks to find enough material, and the project is a culmination of that ritual.
We invited Provincetown-based artist Frank Vasello to come to Arlington to create a site-specific sculpture for the Minuteman Bikeway in October of 2017. He was inspired by seeing Spy Pond to design a sculpture which mimics the movement of water, flowing downstream along a hillside towards the Pond. Entitled Current, Vasello’s installation was built entirely of sticks and branches gathered in the woods that edge the Bikeway, without using any nails or twine to hold these natural materials in place. With occasional maintenance, it will last for a year if unvandalized.
For Vasello, gathering wood and building a sculpture are solitary and meditative activities. He works intuitively, exploring and responding to the unique topography of each site. He becomes immersed in the quiet, repetitive process of laying each stick in just the right spot and at just the right angle required to develop fluid, organic, twisting, and spiraling shapes that follow the contours of the landscape. Vaselllo’s first step is to outline his sculpture with larger pieces of wood; this functions as a kind of sketch that will be built up in some areas and erased and redrawn in others as he fills in the details.
OTTOSON MIDDLE SCHOOL MINI-RESIDENCY
During his 2-week visit to Arlington to create CURRENT, Vasello also worked with art students at the Ottoson Middle School to make a second environmental scupture with them in the woods behind their school.
READ MORE ABOUT CURRENT:
Your Arlington: “Current” Circles: Vasello embraces sticks, and so do Ottoson Students
Arlington Advocate: Environmental art installed along the Minuteman
Art Outdoors: Temporary Artworks by Adria Arch and Frank Vasello Connect Trees and People
Art Outdoors: Art on the Bikeway Endures in January Snow
PATHWAYS is supported by grants from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.