Sculptures take flight in Troy

“I Want to Fly” by Clint Hansen is one of 20 pieces on exhibit in downtown Troy. CONTRIBUTED
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“I Want to Fly” by Clint Hansen is one of 20 pieces on exhibit in downtown Troy. CONTRIBUTED

Public art exhibit on the Square features 20 pieces

When sculptor Matt Miller learned that the folks in Troy were accepting submissions for a sculpture exhibit entitled “Taking Flight,” the wheels in his mind started turning.

Why not design a sculpture based on an old carving he’d discovered that was made by his wife’s grandfather? “It was a slingshot and I had it displayed in our house,” explains the Missouri artist. “I thought of creating a slingshot and paper airplane. It gave me a chance to be a kid again!”

The giant metal slingshot, entitled “Grandpa S,” is one of 20 pieces currently on display as part of Troy’s “Sculptures on the Square.”

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In podcast interviews with each of the artists conducted by Troy Main Street board member Timothy Wells, we learn about the pieces and the sculptors who created them. Miller’s slingshot, for instance, looks like wood but is actually made of 120 pounds of metal. “It’s modeled after the woodpile from my wife’s grandpa,” says the artist who is also a woodcarver. “It’s true to what he had whittled. It’s the first time I ever made a piece to remember someone, but it’s not sad.”

The show, which will be on display through Oct. 4, is a great outing for this time of year.

When you get to town, pick up a free exhibit guide at any of the Troy shops and businesses. The attractive brochure, designed by the Troy-Hayner Center’s exhibit designer Leona Sargent, explains the project, includes a map and photo of each sculpture and information about each of the artists.

In addition to the outdoor sculptures, downtown businesses and organizations are also featuring art by local artists and you’ll find information in the brochure about those as well.

The idea

This is the 10th year for the popular “Sculptures on the Square” event hosted by Troy Main Street every other year. The organization’s executive director Andrea Keller says public art helps attract Troy residents as well as out-of-town visitors.

Over the years, many of us have enjoyed Seward Johnson’s amazing lifelike bronze statues, castings of living people engaged in day-to-day activities. In 2007, the exhibition focused on fiberglass WACO bi-plane replicas and in 2017, the exhibit displayed the artwork of artist Gilberto Acecves Navarro, which featured 30 colorful steel bicycle sculptures.

Caption
Sculptor Matt Miller's giant metal slingshot, entitled “Grandpa S,” is one of 20 pieces currently on display as part of Troy’s “Sculptures on the Square.” CONTRIBUTED

Sculptor Matt Miller's giant metal slingshot, entitled “Grandpa S,” is one of 20 pieces currently on display as part of Troy’s “Sculptures on the Square.” CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Sculptor Matt Miller's giant metal slingshot, entitled “Grandpa S,” is one of 20 pieces currently on display as part of Troy’s “Sculptures on the Square.” CONTRIBUTED

Keller says the idea for this year’s show relates to Ohio’s rich history of aviation — the Wright brothers, the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Troy’s WACO Air Museum and the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. Artists were invited to submit designs that exemplified what “Taking Flight” meant to them.

After 150 submissions were reviewed by the committee, 20 artists were invited to participate. “The response has been overwhelming and positive,” says Keller. “People have really enjoyed it.”

Some of the sculptures are realistic: an aviator holding a plane, a bird in flight, a feather. Others are whimsical such as “To Bee, or Not to Be” and “Wings.”

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Elizabeth Ashe of Washington, D.C., created a fanciful “Red-Winged Blackbird” inspired by the work of Alexander Calder.

“I moved a lot and in my process of travelling and moving across the country, I started paying attention to other migratory patterns,” she says. “I was inspired by birds that also migrate and when I made my first move from the West coast to the Midwest, it (the red-winged blackbird) was the first bird I didn’t recognize.”

As a petite woman, she says she’s learned to make pieces that are compatible with her size and are easy to put together and refresh. “They are painted steel and bolted together,” she explains. Her bird on display is a couple of inches taller than she is.

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“Windblown” by Paul Reimer. CONTRIBUTED

“Windblown” by Paul Reimer. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
“Windblown” by Paul Reimer. CONTRIBUTED

On the day a friend and I visited, another artist had contributed to “Helios,” by Pamela Reithmeier of Toledo. A spider had created an intricate and beautiful web inside her sculpture! Helios was the Titan god of the sun.

Reithmeier says sometimes the metal drives the sculptor and sometimes you have a certain idea in your head.

In the case of “Helios,” she began by scouring her barn and pulling out various pieces of metal. “The centerpiece with the rays of the sun was a piece I found that was bent and damaged,” she says. “So I put it on two-by-fours and drove my car over it to flatten it out. The rays of sun were drops from other sculptures; one of the pieces was a disc from a farming implement. It’s all leftovers.”

Once she had her design, it was a matter of grinding, sanding, and welding. She didn’t realize until she installed it that the artwork would cast shadows as well. “Helios” is bright red. “It’s my mother’s favorite color and a lot of my work does have a positive, happy feel,” Reithmeier says. “There can be a lot of down things in people’s lives so it’s fun when people can walk by a piece of mine and it brings a smile.”

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“Flight” by James Havens. CONTRIBUTED

“Flight” by James Havens. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
“Flight” by James Havens. CONTRIBUTED

Many of the sculptures take some contemplation.

In “Dare to Dream,” artist Kevin Lyles has reproduced a 300-pound anvil in steel. “My sculpture is actually a flying anvil,” says Lyles, who teaches art at the University of Rio Grande in Southeast Ohio and says he always teaches his students to push the envelope. For his flight sculpture, he was inspired by a book about the Wright brothers and all they had to go through to accomplish their dreams.

“My sculpture is actually a flying anvil held down by chains,” he explains “An anvil is something you would never expect to be able to fly. It’s held down by chains but it’s still flying away!”

Most of the sculptures are for sale with prices ranging anywhere from $1,800 to $25,000. If you’re interested in purchasing one, contact Keller at andrea@troymainstreet.org and she’ll connect you with the artist.

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In addition to the Sculptures on the Square, local artists were invited to submit art for display at Troy businesses and shops. Pictured, artist Darren Kall with one of his line pattern series. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Picasa

In addition to the Sculptures on the Square, local artists were invited to submit art for display at Troy businesses and shops.  Pictured, artist Darren Kall with one of his line pattern series. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
In addition to the Sculptures on the Square, local artists were invited to submit art for display at Troy businesses and shops. Pictured, artist Darren Kall with one of his line pattern series. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Picasa

Credit: Picasa

Local artists participate

Stop by downtown businesses and organizations to see more art by local artists.

At the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, you’ll see floral paintings by Meggan Klein. “I think of my art as something I do that is truly being in the moment,” she writes.

You’ll see work by Troy artist William E. Smith III at both Haren’s Market (a good place to buy lunch) and outside Kettering Health’s Troy Hospital. His “Flying Machine” sculpture has a wingspan of 15 feet and is a one-half scale interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Flying Machine.” A number of his “Birds in Flight” mixed media paintings are also nesting on the upper level of Haren’s.

At the Mayflower Arts Center, which also houses a historic movie theater, you can view a number of Darren Kall’s line pattern paintings. You may have seen two of his larger line paintings at the Brookville branch of the Dayton Metro Library where he was commissioned to create new art.

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Kall says the series explores the versatility of intersecting lines. “Each painting has intersecting lines and explores a unique aspect of the relationships between variations in color, size, width, curve, pattern, angles, transparency, density, continuity, containment, light, contrast, technique, and other elements,” he explains. “I think of it as a motif to express a great variety of moods.”

Many people, he says, buy the line pattern paintings for their decorative qualities. For this exhibit he has created a number of smaller paintings. The series is priced from $50-$600.


HOW TO GO

What: “Sculptures on the Square” featuring 20 “Taking Flight” sculptures and artwork by area artists

When: Through Oct. 4. The outdoor sculptures can be viewed anytime. The indoor artwork can be seen during business hours for each organization.

Where: Troy’s Square and businesses around town.

More info: troymainstreet.org and podcast interviews with each artist can be found on Spotify.

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