Public art, in its myriad forms, plays a pivotal role in shaping the identity and vitality of a community. From sculptures and murals to installations and performances, public art enriches our lives, offering cultural, social, aesthetic, and economic benefits that contribute to the well-being and livelihood of a community.
The city of Woodstock is keenly aware of the benefits of public art and is hard at work expanding the community’s public art program. In this behind-the-scenes series, we’ll explore pieces, installations, and more that is available to the public. We’ll reveal the story behind the art, why the work was selected for Woodstock, and key thoughts from each artist.
UNDULATION: A SEA-GREEN MARKER AT MARKET AND MILL
For many Woodstock residents and visitors, starting a day downtown with a visit to the bustling farmers market is a must. When your feet hit the white crosswalk lines in the pavement, you may notice a bright green geometric statue that marks the start of the Noonday Creek Trail. The cylindrical structure, Undulation, acts as a place marker at one of the downtown area’s busiest cross streets, pointing the way to vibrant shops, breweries, and restaurants on Main Street.
According to artist Jordan Fowler, “Undulation was created from imagined curved forms fitting together to form a twisting flame-like shape. I built the form flowing upwards, using the curved surfaces as the main factor in determining subsequent shapes. Mainly composed of geometric and planar elements that revolve and intersect, my sculpture sometimes resembles architecture or figurative poses.”
HOW UNDULATION BECAME PART OF WOODSTOCK’S PUBLIC ART
When asked about the placement of his piece, Jordan shared that his process included visiting the website CallForEntry.org and submitting an application. The story of Undulation’s addition to the city of Woodstock, however, is a bit different.
“She emailed me out of the blue,” Jordan says about his first interaction with Nicole Lampl, the visual arts director at Woodstock Arts. Nicole found Jordan through her research of local artists in the region and came across his website. After their initial conversation, the two discussed the best pieces that fit the city. Undulation had recently become available. The piece had been moved from its previous locale in Charleston, where Jordan attended the College of Charleston, and he had thoroughly refurbished it. He created Undulation while working as the manager of the university’s sculpture studio.
THE IDEA BEHIND THE WORK
Starting as a combination of curved pieces of scrap metal from a previous project and with no original model dictating the fabrication of the work, Undulation was an improvisation on Jordan’s part. To create the structure he combined seam-welded steel panels with sea-green paint to contrast with the oxidized edges.
Each new component, from the center outward, was built to create a reaction to balance the form and flow. The artist left the edges bare and exposed to the elements, allowing oxidation to trail down the painted surfaces.
Undulation invites the public to move around the piece, feel the coarse edges, and examine the natural oxidation along the painted surfaces. “At the time, I was taking a lot of pieces and plating them in copper, like a patina effect. I was obsessed with that color. It goes well with many environments, especially outside,” he says.
The art of seam welding makes the lines connecting the plates easily visible to the viewer. “The way I was connecting those, I was having to contend with rough, ugly edges. I decided that I could spend time grinding them down or leave them rough. Instead of leaving it slick and beautifully painted, the piece sits more like an old car, where the rust and paint start to meld as the paint chips off.” He adds, “It adds a natural outline to the piece.”
On adding public artwork to a community, Jordan shares, “To keep the public interested, a city has to rotate work in and out. Of course the hope as an artist is that they love it enough to buy it, but the city benefits by vetting a lot of artworks over a long period.” He adds, “I would love to bring more pieces down there [to Woodstock] next time the work gets rotated out.”
To explore more about the curated pieces that are part of Woodstock’s public art plan or to learn more about the upcoming timeline of the project, visit PublicArtWoodstock.com.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jordan Fowler is a sculptor and multimedia artist living and creating in a studio in north Georgia. Born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, he attended the College of Charleston. He received a B.A. in studio art with a concentration in sculpture and a B.A. in computing in the arts from the College of Charleston in 2015. Jordan next received an MFA from Clemson University in 2020.
His art has been featured in large-scale exhibitions in public and commercial settings and small group exhibitions throughout the Southeast. After taking a break from the studio to focus on a family-run wedding venue in Adairsville, Jordan is rebuilding the technology to create larger pieces and hopes to make more public pieces soon. Learn more about his work at JordanFowlerArt.com.