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January 23. 2014 1:34AM

Outdoor Art

Sculptor's large-scale steel sculpture finds a home on NH corner


Scultpor Clement Meadmore's 'Perdido' (1978) has been installed in front of Bartlett Hall on Dartmouth College in Hanover. 

At the corner of Wheelock Street and Observatory Road in Hanover, lengths of commanding steel stand as a testament to sculptor Clement Meadmore's ability to bring a sense of unexpected weightlessness to his abstract works.

The Australian-born artist (1929-2005) is best known for the large-scale outdoor sculptures he crafted after moving to New York in 1963. Here in New Hampshire, the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College in Hanover, have given a home to “Perdido,” a large, complex composition gifted by Jay R.

Schochet, class of 1952, and his wife, Suzette D. Schochet.

The outdoor installation joins a roster of public art on campus, including pieces by internationally recognized artists such as Mark di Suvero, Allan C. Houser, Ellsworth Kelly, Beverly Pepper, George Rickey, Richard Serra and Joel Shapiro.

“As in all of Meadmore' s greatest works, 'Perdido' transforms hulking lengths of COR-TEN steel into an abstract artwork of arresting fluidity and inconceivable lightness,” said Michael Taylor, firector of the Hood Museum of Art and the Chair of Dartmouth's Public Art Committee.

Meadmore studied aeronautical engineering and industrial design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and initially pursued a career as a furniture designer. In 1953, he turned to sculpting and moved to Sydney, where he created abstract three-dimensional forms out of welded steel. Ten years later he moved to New York, where he was influenced by minimalism, an artistic movement that attempted to avoid references to anything other than pure form. But he then diverged from that tradition through the dynamic sense of physical movement with which he imbued his sculptures.

The artist also insisted that his work differed from minimalism because he created it intuitively, without a preconceived form. Meadmore's sculpture is characterized by its monumental scale and seemingly weightless gracefulness.

Cor-Ten steel was the artist's preferred medium , due to its natural, weathered appearance and resemblance to unused industrial beams. Meadmore created a balanced, organic arrangement in “Perdido,” using three enormous steel beams and a concrete base from which the central form projects into space, while the other two structures curve gracefully away from one another. Crafted in 1978, “Perdido” was installed in front of Bartlett Hall on campus on Jan. 9.


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