Watermedia artist John Carollo has long had the goal of combining his distinctive painting style with kinetic sculpture to create large-scale pieces for atriums, hospitals, public spaces, transit stations and the like. With the premiere of Icarus Ascends at the Mount Dora Center for the Arts, he has now completed his first physical example of how this concept could be realized.
|An atrium space such as this is|
ideal for a floating kinetic sculpture
When touring the gallery space with Marsha again several months before the show, the ceiling height was noted, and while something on this scale had not originally been considered for the event, John felt this was the time to attempt it. Then began a three-month journey to bring the concept to reality.
In order to work with the show theme, the piece had to be based on a human figure, but also needed to be abstract enough in form that it would not require a huge leap of the imagination for viewers to understand how a creation made of the same materials could be shaped in other manners. Perhaps a flowing aquatic animal, geometric shape, a continuous twisting ribbon, a cascading spiral, etc.
The first step was sourcing a material that would provide an attractive appearance as a base structure, be strong enough to hold a form for a full 16 feet of length, and also be as light as possible, so as not to put undue strain on its ceiling mounts. 1" wide aluminum strips were found to be the perfect solution. Used in two different depths - thicker for points requiring the most structural support and thinner for maximum lightness and bendability. In a marked difference from John's previous two pieces, the silk-based The Reach from 2012 and paper-based The Rapture from 2010, the structure in the new work was conceived as a full part of the sculptural form, as opposed to primarily being a base support system for overlaid material.
|The Fall of Icarus|
In the artwork, we see Icarus ascending higher, with one wing raised above the other and becoming noticeably hotter. This coloration is also present in the head and upper torso, while the lower extremities, still a safe distance from the sun remain cooler.
|Initial Icarus Ascends Sketch 1|
A several week process began of cutting and shaping aluminum, and fastening it together with many, many stainless steel screws. The main form and torso of the figure is created from a spiraling helix shape (think DNA strand, or the inside of certain seashells) and numerous strips are twisted in places to provide enhanced appearance/light refraction, as well as needed stiffening and strengthening to reduce sag and flex.
|The Completed Metallic|
Form of Icarus
|Painting the Silk|
The creation of Icarus has been a fascinating journey for John and he is planing future uses of this unique combination of materials in various sizes and creative forms.