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Millstone sculpture series

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12 feet high, mild steel, 11,000 pounds, a series, Millstone 1-6.

Fredrick K. Orkin

Fredrick K. Orkin

-- Edward Tufte

-- Edward Tufte

I see an intimacy to the home -- comfort and care, a belonging -- immediate and visceral. The huge curving shape is the heavens distance and cold but touchabel only be reaching out. The arranged, uniform holes suggests a protean universe of order and deliberation. A keenly analytical spaghetti strainer, writ large. I am hungry for Prego with extra garlic. And chocolate pudding. And the grape soda of youth.

-- Jeff (email)

The photo with the deer is interesting. The blurring automaticly exudes information about the scene. It exposes the fleeting temporal dimension of nature's display. At once we are aware of the of the photographer's self-imposed distance from the apparition, and hastiness to record the devine connection this space and its sculptural inhabitants demand with nature. The photograph becomes beautiful evidence for the validation of the relationship.

-- Jeff Berg (email)

There is an elegance in the shape and characteristics of the sculpture that is perhaps magnified in knowing that is the object itself is the detritus of our industrial civilazation.

-- Steve Burns (email)

great sculptures. they seem to be relics of an ancient civilization... or of our civilization...

-- Piotr Gode (email)

What I love most... the piece does not interrupt nature but beautifully coexists within it.

-- Lisa Donaldson (email)

This effect results in part from the rusted mild steel, the lacy quality of the holes, the lack of a pedestal, and that the pieces are large enough to stand with the trees and the big surrounding spaces. Also, for those Millstones against the sky, the horizon line appears to flow through the inside circle as a viewer walks by the piece. The relationship between a landscape sculpture and its surrounding space and air is complex; the sculpture should be part of the landscape but also should affect its surroundings.

Richard Serra says the issue is "how a work alters a given site," which I read as a step beyond co-existence. My view is: How do the work and its environment borrow strength from one another? Thus there is a burden on the location and its quality as well as on the artwork and its quality. Both the location and artwork should get better by being there together. Thus the sculptor needs the freedom to make choices about the location rather than being stuck with a given location by the client. Since these are client-free pieces, they get to move around to a good location on our land.

-- Edward Tufte

So many questions are posed by this piece. I can only wish it had the self-explanatory power of your other work.

-- Andrew Gibbons (email)

words dominate even the mass and rusted surface, viewed on the pedestal of given name "millstone" lead to segmentation, instability and finally comical juxtapositions upon observing its motion. i hear it grind to a stop and feel its weight beneath me and am intrigued by the environment it has found itself to exist in, not geological but socially what brings these massive constructs of whimsical function? and am pleased to ponder but most always within play

-- russell (email)


I was in your class today in Arlington, VA, where you showed some images of your sculptures. Here a true bit of trivia, barely relevant to this thread, for your private amusement.

For a few years in my Air Force career, I was an operational tester of the then-newly-introduced C-5 transport--that's the big one.

When crews start big transports' engines, one crew member stands outside to report any untoward happening that might not be visible from the cockpit. To so report, obviously, that person needs to be in intercom communication with the pilots; therefore, he or she employs a headset/mike setup plugged into a cable that plugs into the airplane.

On previous transport airplane models, the socket on the crew member's end of that cable had had a push-to-talk switch. Someone in the C-5 design bureaucracy (afflicted with what you call featuritis) decided that was not good enough -- an integral volume control should be added.

in the arcane world of military specifications, one thing led to another (the socket had to function reliably in all weather conditions and despite being regularly dropped and dragged on the ground, etc.), and the socket's size and weight grew accordingly, finally to the point that it was provided with a neckstrap so that it could be worn (hung, that is) rather than carried.

The socket's long-forgotten official name was something like "Crew Member Essential Communications Connector with Volume Control." Within days of its introduction, however, the folks afflicted with using it re-Christened it. That is how the word "Millstone" entered the C-5 lexicon.

-- John Sullivan (email)

Here's Millstone 8, installed at Hogpen Hill, our new land in Woodbruy, Connecticut. On the last 2 Millstones, numbers 7 and 8 in the series, I've exposed the concrete base to provide some extra height (the piece is now about 17 feet tall) and to expose the geometry of the base attachment and mounting. On Millstones 1-6, that mounting support and the 26,000 pounds of concrete are buried in the ground so that the Millstone appears to be balanced on edge against the grass.

The photograph below suggests why some extra height is needed in the big landscape surrounding Millstone 8, which is set in a surrounding cove to create some volumes around the piece.

-- Edward Tufte

Here are photographs of the installation of Millstone 8 at Hogpen Hill.

-- Edward Tufte

-- Edward Tufte

I just noticed an optical illusion in one of the photographs in this thread. The third photo in Dr. Tufte's entry dated August 8, 2006 is interesting (top of the rust-covered millstone with the sky as a backdrop). By rolling the mouse's scroll wheel and watching this photo scroll down (or up) the screen, the sculpture appears to turn towards or away from the viewer depending on the direction of the image scroll.

-- Miklos Z. Kiss (email)

Threads relevant to sculpture:
Ace and Porta do multimedia
Bird Series
Aluminum and stainless steel; many, many pieces moving in the air.
Bouquet sculpture series--and Walking, Seeing, Constructing
Beginning of Bouquet series (now 7); along with theoretical statement beginning the volume 5 project.
Buddha with Bird Nest: sculpture
Complex sculptural shapes
Dear Leader I: landscape sculpture May 2006
Narrative piece about some mysterious porcelain objects in a stainless steel perspective box.
Dog sculpture (Porta the Portuguese Water Dog)
ET Modern
ET museum/gallery in the Chelsea Art District in New York 2010-2013.
ET show at George Champion Modern Shop
ET gallery show in Woodbury, Connecticut.
Escaping Flatland sculptures
Ten large stainless steel pieces in the landscape generate many views and painted color fields as the sun moves across the sky and the season changes.
Feynman Diagrams, Edward Tufte sculptures and exhibits
The Conceptual and Cognitive Art of Feynman Diagrams. Art show + 16 page essay.
Flame Theater
Georgia O'Keeffe and Escaping Flatland
Hogpen Hill #1: sculpture installed August 2006
First major piece (24 feet light, stainless steel) installed in new 122 acre sculpture park underway in Woodbury, Connecticut.
Ironstone artworks, torqued steel
Magritte's Smile
Masks Quartet, 2011
bronze casting
Megaliths, Continuous and Silent, Stuctures of Unknown Significance
Stone+air artworks. Scuplture, megaliths
Multiplicity in visual experiences (ET presentation for a museum show)
Nine reviews of ET's Aldrich Museum sculpture show
ET museum show in Connecticut 2009-2010

Paradox sculptures
Petals 1-3
Aluminum hyperbolic paraboloids in the landscape reflect light and shadow. The pieces move with the contour of the land.
Philosophical Diamond Signs
Philosophical alerts, imperatives, and thoughts about the path past and future.
Rocket Science
~32 feet (10 m) high and ~72 feet (22 m) long, and is constructed from ~48,000 pounds (22,000 kg) of rusting scrap steel
Rocket Science #2 (Lunar Lander)
Rocket Science 3: Airstream Interplanetary Explorer
Sculpture Forgings
Steel forging mounted on wood base. Blacksmithing video.
Sculpture: Negative space studies
Three table pieces; strong positive elements create active negative volumes (the air) to torque. Movies.
Seeing Around: New ET essay published
Skewed Machine
Spring Arcs, an ET landscape sculpture
Four solid stainless steel arcs in the landscape. Long thread, many photographs on meaning, construction, viewing of the piece.
Stainless steel images: anisotropic calligraphy
Big series of engraved 3D anisomorphic images that move with light.
Steel sculptures
Rough, thick, rusting steel, with surface images in the steel's patina.
Table sculptures
About a dozen major table pieces in wood, steel, stainless steel.
The Drawing Center fax show: ET exhibits
The Twigs: Landscape artworks made from steel and air
The beautiful Twig. Steel, 32 feet high, with accompanying thread on reading the piece and the complexities of modeling large 3D objects.
Theater Museum artworks
Tong Bird of Paradise
Towers: a new memorial for 9/11
Visual complexities of light, shadow, perpsective. Perforated stainless steel.
ZZ Smile (Zerlina's Smile)

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