collaboration with Ralph Helmick
dimenensions: 28' h 15' w 15' d
materials: cast bronze, stainless cable
site: Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences, Brooklyn, NY
commissioned by: NYC Board of Education, NYC School Construction Authority, NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program

In the main entrance of the new Leon Goldstein High School for the Sciences floats a sculptural meditation on the nature of profound discovery. The central image is a Great Horned Owl in flight, created by hundreds of precisely fixed and suspended cast bronze elements. The owl, emblematic of wisdom, is formed by a dense array of symbols culled from language and science. Like a comet, the form becomes more porous as it moves toward the tail, eventually dissolving into a particulate array, a sort of 'contrail of rationality.'

Numerals, letters, and symbols in the owl incorporate text, equations, and other kinds of embedded meaning; e.g,. a row of numbers depicts the Fibonacci series. Elsewhere, the sculpture includes letters spelling out dozens of names--geniuses in their fields--drawn from a variety of cultures and historical epochs.

On the bottom surface of the owl is a portion of a poem by Walt Whitman “Leaves of Grass” directing us to question “all [we] have been told”.

The subject matter is simultaneously: pastoral--depicting an elegant moment of avian activity; scientific--relating to the activities within the building; and philosophical--a meditation on the nature of esthetic and technological pursuits. Science infuses the sculpture, evoking interpretations relating to phase change (physics), the nature of perception (biology/physiology), and human experience (phenomenology).

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