Sculpture Garden: “Wing Dam” Reception with Pete Driessen
Join sculptor and 2020 artist-in-residence Pete Driessen for a free outdoor artist talk and reception commemorating the installation of his site-specific, abstract limestone Wing Dam sculpture on Friday, August 13 from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Anderson Center Sculpture Garden, 163 Tower View Drive in Red Wing.
In partnership with the Anderson Center, Pete began researching, developing, and creating the sculpture during his four-week residency in August 2020. Installed on July 9, Wing Dam reflects post-modern industrial river culture and is gently aligned with the cardinal directions.
A ‘wing dam’ is a rock structure used by Army Engineers to direct flowage and navigation. Pete utilized Dolomite Limestone, geologically native to SE Minnesota river areas, to create a series of five large parallel, chevron-shaped wedges that gently shift in size. Together, the forms contrast with the flat land and abstractly evoke the contours and spirit of the confluence of the Canon and Mississippi Rivers, located just over the bluff from the Anderson Sculpture Garden.
Driessen states: “Megalithic in nature and character, the boulderesque stones jettison up from below the earth, much like how wing dam rocks suddenly arise from the flowing shallow river water as one passes by in a watercraft. The motion-based experience is one of linear elegance in design, yet stark in contrast to the natural river bluff landscape. The wedge structures create a unique repetitive illusionary appearance paralleling the scattered geological drift formations leftover on the midwestern escarpment from the Laurentian period, so abundant to the MN/WI lake and river regions.”
With site-specific and material variance, the modular Dolomite limestone contours, placed on rhythmic cement bases aligned solely with a single string, advance an array of artistic, spatial, and philosophical questions: When does the sculptural object become the land/earth and land/earth become the sculpture? What is the role of human motion in viewing the illusionary spatiality of repetitive mass and forms in open spaces? With geological time as material component of the limestone, how does space(s) and spatiality inhibit or condition our (sub)conscious mind?
“With the river bluff location of the Wing Dam installation,” Pete adds, “I have intersected natural, sculptural, and architectural spaces, and the liminal voids where space is not segregated from the sculptural form. As the tactility of light is a revelatory force that reveals, we begin to see the Wing Dam stones as simple, yet complex. Through the language of abstraction, the site-specific stoneworks generate a three-dimensional vocabulary via angular wedge forms, gently nestled within the rural curving river bluff, and in connection with our Mother Earth as the blank canvas.”
Light refreshments will be provided. A sampling of Pete’s foam and wood research models will be on hand, along with a table of small models and reference ephemera. Also available will be Driessen’s recent alternative statement: Words on a 1968 Upper Mississippi River Navigation Chart/Map to take into consideration when creating a sculpture at The Anderson Center at Tower View, Red Wing, MN.
Handicapped accessible and free to the public, the Main Gallery at the Anderson Center is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Sculpture Garden is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Anderson Center is conveniently located just off Highway 61 at 163 Tower View Drive on the northwestern edge of Red Wing. The Center has two entrances from 61 – the Cannon Bottom Road entrance leads to the West parking lot and the beautiful extensive Sculpture Garden. The Mounds View Drive Entrance leads to Anderson Center’s offices and main entrance.
This activity is made possible a grant from the WINGS Foundation, and the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Pete Driessen is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This project is generously assisted by Simpson Strong Ties, Culligan Water of Northfield, TuckUnder Projects via Springboard for the Arts Incubator program, and many generous individuals.
Pete Driessen is a Minneapolis based multi-practice visual artist, sculptor and cultural producer who creates conceptual paintings, found object installations, interdisciplinary sculpture projects, and participatory public art that explore the visceral connections of social, spatial and material dynamics. Driessen received his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, VT, and BA from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul. He has been awarded regional grants and awards, including a 2019 Forecast Public Art Mid Career Project grant for his Pivotal TurnTable Tactics public installation at the Northern Pacific Center, Brainerd, MN, a 2017 The Soap Factory/ReThinking Public Space in Minnesota grant for his Trestle Support Systems public art project, a 2015 Jerome/FSP Fellowship at Franconia Sculpture Park for his Franconia Boat Tower sculpture, a 2014 MRAC Next Step grant for his Silverwood Park project, and three MSAB Artist Initiative grants (2019, 2017, 2013). Pete’s work has been regionally reviewed and his
exhibition record includes national and regional exhibitions at a wide range of venues. He currently directs and curates TuckUnder Projects & Pavilion, a non-descript, experimental garage-based gallery specializing in emerging and midcareer artists focusing on critical practice, curatorial projects, and institutional critique.