Monday, October 17, 2011

Artists’ reception and open house, Nov. 1, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

An artists’ reception and open house will be held at the Cloquet Public Library, Tuesday, November 1, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., celebrating the completion of a sculpture by Sean Elmquist, commissioned by the Cloquet Public Library with a grant from the Minnesota Legacy Amendment funds appropriated to the Arrowhead Library System. In addition to the sculpture, the library has also received a donation of rock art from local artist, Bryan Schaap.

The sculpture evokes the power of reading and its ability to transform words into material reality- with a connection to the location. The iconography used in the sculpture: the pages of a book, a tree, a fish, a cloud, the St. Louis River- represent Cloquet, the region, and its ties to reading. The scroll-like forms extend from the Library’s sign as pages of a book, representing the act of reading and the texts contained in the library, and also the area’s ties to paper-making. The “pages” support and present the symbols, evoking the written word’s ability to manifest itself in reality- and to conjure images.

The tree, fish, river and cloud represent the natural beauty of the area, but each symbol contains its own meaning. The tree reflects the area’s forests, as well as its forestry traditions- the tree is also what books are made of. The cloud evokes nature while simultaneously representing thought and imagination. The river spanning the pages is the St. Louis, the main artery of Cloquet, but can also be seen as a “river of knowledge”- with the fish swimming in it a metaphor for the reader.

The sculpture is made from acrylic sheets that are bent, cut, and painted, and then attached to the site by a welded steel framework. Acrylic was chosen for its translucency, and will lend a more nuanced, visually interesting experience than opaque materials such as steel or wood might. Acrylic is also incredibly strong and lightweight, so it will still be structurally sound and long-lasting, but will also be moveable if any construction or expansion of the library is needed.

Bryan Schaap has etched designs into a couple of boulders that greet people as they enter the library. Bryan came up with the idea as a way to help divert the water runoff from the roof and make something attractive in that place. One boulder has a set of children’s hands and the other is a turtle.

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