Friday, July 8, 2011

#1507 ... Seismic

An outstanding new sculpture, Seismic, by the nationally renowned Auckland sculptor Louise Purvis is located at the western (Lambton Quay) end of Bunny St, in Victoria University of Wellington's Pipitea campus area.

Four large discs of fine Italian Carrara marble each 1.8 meters in diameter are strewn on the paving or on the raised grass areas as though thrown there by an earthquake. Each has carved patterns representing the different aspects of seismic activity. ''These strong, lyrical works combine respect for the actions of nature with the challenge of Carrara marble'' (Katy Corner, ArtNews NZ, Autumn 2007).

The sculptures interpret the tension and drama of Wellington's long history of seismic events. But the work also has strength and serenity, and invites contemplation, which makes it particularly appropriate to the university precinct.
The seemingly random and scattered placement of the discs will encourage people to sit and walk among them. It is also a very tactile work, inviting touch.

Louise Purvis has offered us another major contribution to the sculpture gallery that is emerging on Wellington's streets. As a work developed in stone it is quite different from other recent public art in the city, and shows another dimension of New Zealanders' creative skills as these are reflected in sculpture

The four components of the work are Topographical Map Section, which marks the location of a segment of the fault line that runs through Wellington; Seismic Shock which records an earthquake; Disrupt which reflects on the earth moving and disruption; and Split which tells of the results of an earthquake and the opening and movement of tectonic plates.

"Seismic is a direct response to the site. Each disc is an interpretation of events occurring during an earthquake. The discs are strewn about the site to evoke a sense of randomness. Seismic is intended to be a sculpture you pass through and perhaps contemplate the precarious nature of our environment along the way." Louise Purvis

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