Artist Owen Morrel has unveiled a piece of his art at Asnuntuck Community College (ACC). Named Gnomon, the sculpture is located in front of the new 27,000 square foot Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, on Asnuntuck’s Campus. Completed in 1991, the piece had previously been on display on Fifth Avenue in the Flat Iron District of New York City and in St. Paul Western Sculpture Park in Minnesota.
The acquisition of this piece of art was in accordance with Connecticut’s Art in Public Spaces (AIPS) program, established by the General Assembly in 1978. The Art in Public Spaces program required that projects allocate not less than 1% of the cost of construction or renovation of publicly accessible state buildings, for the commission or purchase of artwork for that building. The selection of artwork is a competitive process. The State of Connecticut has removed this requirement from the current two-year budget, with the exception of construction projects fully allocated, prior to December 31, 2017.
Morrel’s art becomes the third sculpture on the Enfield campus. According to Morrel, Gnomon- meaning primitive sundial- is an interactive piece with movable elements. The piece is polished mirrored stainless steel. Morrel said, “I did recognize immediately upon reading the application for the competition, the confluence or coincidence between ACC’s courses of study over the way Gnomon was conceived, designed and constructed”. He explained that 3D technology and visualization was key to the creation of the sculpture.
Morrel’s work has been displayed across the country, including Texas Tech University; in the state of Oklahoma; the New Museum Building in NYC; Sithe Energies, Inc in Oswego, NY; Arlington, Texas as part of the stadium complex, among other locations.
On the front campus, Asnuntuck’s Monument Park features Richard Hunt’s “Explorer Column”, the original sculpture on campus. Hunt created the sculpture, fabricated of welded stainless steel, in 1993. According to the artist, the title suggests that exploration is an element of education, and that education prepares us to explore and learn throughout our careers and our lives.
The “Explorer Column” is one of several of Hunt’s masterpieces, which is on display around the nation. Sculptures similar to Asnuntuck’s were also commissioned at: ATT headquarters in New York, NY, Tufts University in Medford, MA, KRAFT Corporation in Glenview, IL, Berkley Art Museum n Berkley, CA, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.
The second sculpture on the front lawn was designed and created by faculty and students enrolled in Asnuntuck Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology program. The piece, which is lit up at night, highlights the programs offered within the manufacturing program.
Morrel said he finds the placement of the piece in front of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology building, to be an appropriate match for this piece.
He said the location allows it to be in a site where the shapes, scale and tonal values are complimentary to the architecture, surroundings, and function of the building.
“In the case of ACC, where 3D skills and equipment are taught ; I was sure
it was a perfect fit,” said Morrel.