Sculptures from all over the world – some in shining steel and some in smooth marble – were assembled by hand and by crane around Cary Town Hall campus July 15 for this year’s Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition.
The annual art show has been put on by non-profit public art organization Cary Visual Art in partnership with the Town of Cary for the past nine years. Artists submit applications and are chosen by a jury.
This year’s show features works from eight different artists from as far away as Israel. Getting space in the show is competitive. Catherine Howard, executive director of Cary Visual Art, said more than 80 artists applied to have their sculptures shown in locations surrounding Cary Town Hall, from Chapel Hill Road to Chatham Street.
“This is our most colorful and engaging outdoor sculpture exhibition ever,” Howard said.
Jack Howard-Potter, a New-York born steel sculptor, applied for the exhibition multiple times before he was finally chosen to be featured this year – and he also won best in show.
“They’ve always done a really great show with really great artists and great sculptures.” he said. “The locations are really good. The support of the town is really good.”
Howard-Potter’s sculpture, titled “Larm,” is outside of Town Hall along North Academy Street. It’s a striking contrast of chrome and color, featuring a human-like figure holding what appear to be ribbons. But he said the piece is open to interpretation.
“It’s not very easily identifiable as a figure,” he said. “But there’s some familiarity that you have with it because of the human anatomy.”
The piece is made entirely from steel, but Howard-Potter said he likes to convey movement with the hard metal, which he did through the colors.
“One of the things that I often try to do with my sculpture is to give you a frozen moment in time,” he said. “Your mind is wondering what it’s going to do next, and where did it just come from, so it kind of just gives it a little bit more movement.”
Ray Katz’s “Excelerator” is another abstract piece, located between the train tracks along Academy Street. The piece, also made of steel, is a collection of geometric shapes piled together.
“The geometry represents age-old geometric phenomena in cultures as old as the Chinese,” he said. “All of it relates to nature basically. Even though it’s geometry, it has its basis in the world that we live in.”
Katz, who featured a sculpture last year as well, said public are shows are on the rise. They’re important for communities, he said.
“It enhances the city intellectually and aesthetically,” Katz said. “It becomes a cultural destination, it appeals to people of all ages, including children. I definitely think it’s a win-win situation when they do something like this.”
Steel sculptures seemed to be a theme at the exhibition. Artist Russell Whiting’s piece is made of solid steel and weighs more than 1,000 pounds.
“I carved it with a torch,” said Whiting, who is from Breaux Bridge, La. “It’s a technique that I invented. I’ve been using it for 25 years now.”
The sculpture is almost 8 feet tall and features a woman holding a large, textured ring. It’s titled “Atlas” for Greek mythology, but he said the name has a double meaning.
“Atlas was the titan that held up the world, and over there you see a girl holding up the world,” he said. “The circle represents the earth, and so it’s ‘At Last,’ because of the female.”
The exhibition also features an abstract, primary-colored piece from veteran artist Hanna Jubran, who also had a piece in the exhibit last year. It sits directly in front of the Town Hall.
Susan Moffatt’s “Succulent I,” a solid marble structure that resembles a cactus, and Jordan Parah’s “Sunrise, Sunset,” which is a warm-colored steel structure sitting amongst the tall grass, are in the gardens behind Town Hall.
Jonathan Schork’s “For the Children of Astrios and Eos I: Canicle,” a giant, functioning wind chime made of “steel, written word, and music,” is on the corner of Chapel Hill Road and Academy Street.
And finally, on the corner of of Chatham and Academy streets is Israeli artist Ana Huberman-Lazovsky’s “Big Copacabana Wave,” which had to be shipped from Israel. The fiberglass and aluminum sculpture portrays a bright blue crashing wave.
The sculptures will be in place until July 15, 2017.
Paige Connelly: 919-460-2609; @pconnellly