Two artists with Ozark connections will create new sculptures for the grounds of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
. George Dombek, a native of Paris, Ark. who is well known for his finely detailed watercolors, is casting a bronze sculpture of a stick bicycle and an apple tree in the 12-foot-high Tour de Tree. Pat Musick, who lived and worked in Huntsville, Ark. for 22 years, will create A Place Where They Cried, a tribute to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminole people who traveled through Arkansas as part of the Trail of Tears forced migration in 1837-39.
"These two works of art, so different in spirit, represent the diversity of themes and media that will be represented in Crystal Bridges' sculpture program," said Chris Crosman, the museum's chief curator. "We want to celebrate the rich history and artistic environment here in the Ozarks."
George Dombek earned a bachelor's degree in architecture and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Arkansas, and has taught architecture at universities in Arkansas, Ohio, Florida, Saudi Arabia and Italy. For the past five years Dombek has divided his time between studios in Goshen, Ark. and in New York City. His work has been exhibited across the United States.
Inspired by a series of paintings depicting bicycles fashioned from sticks, Dombek's Tour de Tree has opened up a new avenue of artistic inquiry.
"I've been doing sculpture forever, but not to exhibit," he said. "Fourteen years after constructing the first bicycle out of wood it is great to realize a bicycle and tree cast in bronze that will be placed at Crystal Bridges."
Pat Musick received her doctoral degree in philosophy and her Master of Arts in Design from Cornell University. Musick taught at the University of Houston and at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and also taught art classes at the Arkansas Arts Center. Her installations have been exhibited throughout the United States. She now lives in Manchester Center, Vermont.
Her sculpture A Place Where They Cried builds on an earlier work, Yokes on the Trail of Tears, now in Tyson Food Corporation's permanent collection. The Yokes installation traveled to 22 sites in northern Arkansas, tracing the path of 1200 Cherokee along one section of the Trail of Tears. The new work - created in partnership with her husband Jerry Carr, a former NASA astronaut and now Musick's chief engineer and business manager - will consist of a 65-foot-long formation of native stone monoliths arranged along a mulch path with creeping myrtle and a stone bench. Signage with interpretative text, historic background information and educational learning experiences developed by Crystal Bridges in co-operation with tribal representatives, historians and members of the Trail of Tears Association will accompany the work.
"It is exciting to have my work in Crystal Bridges' collection and to be in the company of such eminent sculptors as James Turrell and Mark di Suvero," Pat Musick said. "The museum, dedicated to collecting American art, will provide a valuable perspective on art history and will be a cultural enrichment to all who visit. To have the honor of installing a sculpture in such a setting is a humbling experience."
Work is proceeding on the fabrication of both sculptures. The museum hopes to complete installation of both works in 2010.