A dated work of art

A dated work of art

Savannah Whitmer, Lead Reporter

The 18-feet-tall sculptures of painted aluminum, steel, and concrete that have occupied the Stacy Road median of the Village Shopping area for 6 years may be a typical sight for Fairview and Allen residents, but for some people there are some mysterious aspects.

Each of the five sculptures includes two specific dates which form a series ranging from 115 years in the past to 82 years into the future.

“I wouldn’t say they’re random,” sculpture artist Rich Morgan said. “But I have had a lot of different interpretations from people. The variety of ideas assigned to the piece are interesting. That’s part of the reason they’re there, so people can make their own interpretations.”

Called “Jazz Medley – From Nevelson to Village Logo”, the sculptures are known as site-specific, large scale art, which is something Morgan specializes in. And while Morgan believes “the only correct interpretation of the artwork is your own” he does focus specifically on the artwork’s location.

“The fact that it’s in the median, that it’s seen by people in cars going past quickly usually is important to the meaning of the art,” Morgan said. “It’s also important that it straddles the boundary between the town of Fairview and the city of Allen. That’s an invisible line that most people don’t know is there. But it straddles that line.”

“Jazz Medley” was made after an original plan for a 72-foot-tall sculptural tree, located in the middle of the shopping center, was called off due to being too costly. The title, which, according to Morgan, is key to understanding the art, was derived from progressive jazz music.

“If you line all the sculptures side by side in order, you can see that it moves,” Morgan said. “It’s a clear progression from that sculptural piece to the very far end, another piece that is an abstraction of a logo used for the development, the Village of Allen and the Village of Fairview. And so you put those end to end and you see this progression between point A and point B, which is pretty clear, if you could see it that way. But you really can’t see it that way when you drive past.”

The subtitle, “From Nevelson to the Villages,” is a reference to mid century sculptor Louise Nevelson, whose work is displayed in an element of the piece. Both the use of Nevelson’s style and the “Jazz Medley” are appreciated as artistic landmarks by Allen and Fairview residents.

“So many times you recognize a place, like the Mustangs in Las Colinas, you recognize the city by the art that’s there,” chairwoman of the Allen Public Art Committee Jane Bennett said in an Allen Image article. “We’re hoping that one of these days Allen will be recognizable that way too.”

While the exact meaning of the dates on the sculptures remain unknown and are left to the viewer’s individual interpretation, the artwork continues to be thought provoking.

“One way to think of this is a commentary that we live in a world where people don’t have time to appreciate art,” Morgan said. “We zip past it. So anything complicated or anything that has any kind of deep meaning we miss because we’re in such a hurry. The culture says, don’t take time to look deeply, think deeply, to study things, to investigate things. We just keep on zipping on by. And we miss a lot by doing that.”