Tullamore Courthouse 2006 Stage 2 proposal

Tullamore Courthouse 2006

Stage 2 Per Cent for Art Commission, March 2006

In January 2006 I was approached by the Irish Office of Public Works. I was asked to submit a detailed proposal for a large sculptural work for the Tulamore Courthouse as a Per Cent for Art Commission, along with 5 other sculptors. I was asked to produce, by March 23rd, a 1:10 scale model, technical drawings at 1:10 scale, detailed illustrations, and a detailed costings & specifications breakdown.

The selection committee met over the course of many weeks, and in the end selected work by another sculptor. However I am still pleased by the sculpture I produced as a 1:10 scale maquette, as I decided to use all authentic materials and produce a work of art, not just a model. The feather was cast in bronze, the base is limestone with the image sandblasted into its surface, and the curving rear wall is fiberglass reinforced white concrete.

The following statement (as part of my proposal) outlines general ideas & descriptions of the work.

"The sculpture will consist of a bronze cast element (a large feather) leaning against a large boulder, located on the limestone plinth area. The limestone will have a bush-hammer finish which incorporates & creates a line drawing image, also visible from within the courthouse extension. The bush-hammer finish will cover the majority of the stone, the thin areas left smooth will make up the line drawing of the image. These elements together form a composition, wherein an overall idea and theme of the contrasting concepts of ancient and modern justice is expressed.

The underlying image combines a fingerprint (evidence) with one side of a balance beam weighing scale, traditionally associated with the scales of justice. The ancient image of the scale balances against the modern image of the finger print, made ubiquitous through film & television courtroom dramas.

The oversized feather is reminiscent of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, wherein the soul was judged by weighing it against a feather to test for purity. The feather is also representative of the quill used to write so many acts of law passed on to our modern courts.

This composition, with its oversize feather & image, allows the viewer to step inside the work. It will encourage interaction; a natural impulse will be to sit on the feather or lean against the boulder. The view of the image from the second floor of the courthouse extension will allow for further contemplation of the work."