An interview with Adam Mankoski for Date Magazine, May 2015
Tell me about the sculpture(s) at the library.
“Points of Departure” consists of 3 separate monoliths, 12 feet high and 18x18 inches at the base. The medium is poured concrete with metal and ceramic tile inlays.
The theme of “Points of Departure” is a reinforcement of the value and pleasure of libraries. For many people the library provides research and ideas from which they depart to a new level of awareness. “Departure” is one of those words with multiple significances, but it always means going from one place headed to another, be it a physical location or a mental state.
How did this commission come about?
The idea is the brainwork of Jim Philips, another local artist. Jim has had previous experience in public art as well working as a building inspector. Hence, he was well qualified to use concrete as medium. He completed one of the three sculptures with John Streeby supplying metal pieces last year. Then Jim acquired a grant from the Shasta Regional Community Foundation to provide funds to complete the remaining two pieces. He asked me if I’d like to create some ceramic tiles for the central piece. I said yes which began a great working relationship.
The positive response of the community resulted in many donations of materials and time from our local venues. There are too many to list in this article, but there is a nice sized plaque imbedded in the center piece honoring those donors.
How are they different than your other work? New techniques?
These tiles are mostly round, some are concave, some convex and some flat. What’s different is that they are reverse inlaid into concrete forms prior to the cement being poured, e.g. wet cement is poured into the box-like forms and fuses to the back of the tiles. When the forms are removed, the glazed surfaces are exposed. This is then followed with a pressure hose cleaning and finally thin paints are applied here and there to balance and tie the design elements together.
For the tiles I chose bright colors to contrast with the matt gray of the concrete. The tiles are abstract but each one strongly hints of a landscape, sort of pictures within pictures. Each tile was a fun creation of glazing methods. Glaze exploration is always exciting to me. Opening the kiln is like Christmas. In some glazes I even mixed vegetable oil to create unusual mottled effects.
How do they work with the space? What design considerations did you make?
Because there are 3 tall pieces spaced about 25 feet apart, “Points of Departure” covers a line of about 50 feet from north to south. They are located in the front of Redding Library on the left side. The vertical designs are uplifting and bring a sense of harmony with the library building. There are lots of angles on the surfaces that give a geometric feel to the sculpture. The central piece has lots of arcs as well and, of course, the circular ceramic tiles reinforce the arcs and each other. The overall work has a sense of softness not expected with concrete work.
Is there a reception/ceremony/unveiling? If so, when/where?
The reception will be July 14, 2015 at 11am. It will be at the sculpture location in front of the Redding Library. Stay tuned for details.