Sculptor Eric Troffkin doesn’t like to let life pass him by.
He takes pleasure in the little things, objects that often go unnoticed. Armed with steel and fiberglass, he twists and welds his sculptures into living, breathing works of art.
“I’m interested in things we see frequently, but things we don’t think about a lot,” Troffkin said, “I see these things everywhere, and now you will too.”
Troffkin, who lives in Detroit, came to Cary to display his 14-foot sculpture in Cary Visual Art’s seventh annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition.
A total of 12 artists are taking part in the exhibition, and they set up their sculptures throughout downtown Cary on Friday morning. The art will be displayed for the next year.
Cary Visual Art received 48 entries from artists across the country. Ten winners were chosen by this year’s juror, Renee Piechocki, director of Pittsburgh’s Office of Public Art. She used to live in Chapel Hill, so she is familiar with the Triangle’s arts scene.
“I wanted to create a balanced exhibition,” Piechocki said. “I have a passion for finding ways to help artists and the community connect. ... I’m looking for excellence and craftsmanship and new and innovative ways of using material.”
Two artists – Phil Hathcock and Charles Pilkey – also have sculptures featured. Their work was selected through a community-choice poll.
The 12 artists hail from six states, said Mary Davis Wallace, executive director of Cary Visual Art, a nonprofit.
“The show is so fun to put on,” Wallace said. “It engages more artists and more people every year.”
This year’s exhibition cost about $28,000. Money comes from the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, the town of Cary, sponsors, donations and ticket sales to Friday’s opening reception.
Christian Hansen, a Cary sculptor, is featuring his art in the show for the second year in a row. He got into sculpting about four years ago, when one of his friends introduced him to the art.
“The show is put on really well,” Hansen said. “It’s a good way for the town to get art.”
His 9-foot sculpture has been dubbed “Harlequin” in honor of the lighthearted and comical servant from Italian commedia dell'arte. The gourd-shaped piece has a reflective center that Hansen hopes will attract the eyes of passersby.
“I hope people will interact and play with the sculpture,” Hansen said.
Tripp Jarvis of Hillsborough is displaying his sculpture, “Beyond the Sun.” He took part in the first outdoor exhibition in Cary seven years ago.
For Jarvis, art is a way to express himself and achieve mental wholeness and healing.
“I wanted to reach out to the local community, and this was the best way to do that,” he said.
Dani Devinney of Cary has been a Cary Visual Art volunteer for three years. Before she started working with the group, she would drive through downtown Cary and wonder about the sculptures.
“For me, it was like, ‘Hey, who does that? I kind of want to do that,’ ” Devinney said.
Her favorite piece from last year’s exhibition was a metal sculpted horse called “Colorful” by Jonathan Bowling.
“I love getting to know the different sculptures every year,” Devinney said.
Troffkin, the artist from Detroit, said he welcomed the chance to display his work outside.
“There are not many opportunities to show art outdoors,” Troffkin said. “I was willing to make the drive.”