Kate Cheney Chappell Art Space

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Sculpture: A New Direction

3D has been calling to me ever since I started making “Earth Envelopes” and installations around 2000. My mixed media paper pierces bump out from the wall or inhabit the floor, and from there I have explored mixing steel and paper in hanging sculptures (indoors) and stainless steel and acrylic paint (outdoors). I see these forms as opportunities to shape and inhabit a space in three dimensions, as well as a support for layered imagery using painting and printmaking techniques. It is also a chance to challenge myself to learn a new approach.


"Tumblestar” is a 3-part steel and acrylic paint sculpture (each sea star measuring 5’-6’ across), installed in “The Power of Place” outdoor sculpture exhibit at Wells Reserve at Laudholm from May to October of 2017. The piece invokes our relationship with the heavens, for we are made of the same substance as the stars; and with the earth, for we are all related to the creatures that share it with us. Rachel Carson said it best: “all the life of the planet is interrelated.” Dedicated to her memory is a nearby wildlife sanctuary that I visit frequently, and where I first read those words. In my life, Rachel Carson has been a source of inspiration to make art that celebrates nature and raises concern for its depredation, especially through pesticide abuse that continues today. The calligraphic element of the design in the three stars spells out the word for DDT, yet the matrix design embraces each one in a continuously linked relationship.

Click on the image at left to see more details of the Tumblestar installation.

Kingswood-Oxford School Interrelated Sculpture

A commission to create a hanging sculpture for the new science building at my alma mater, Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford CT, pushed me to explore mixed media in three dimensions. The multi-year project resulted in a 15’ long steel and paper mobile, three double helices suspended from the arms of a 5’ wide steel starfish. Entitled All Life Interrelated, it reflects the theme of the interconnectedness of life. Based on a quote from Rachel Carson spelled out in runes on the cross-members, each DNA-like double helix represents a realm: sea, earth, sky. Creatures on the paper skin emphasize symbiosis and connections between species.

As crude a weapon as a cave man’s club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life---a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough and resilient, and capable of striking back in unexpected ways. These extraordinary capacities of life have been ignored by the practitioners of chemical control who have brought to their task no ‘high-minded orientation,’ no humility before the vast forces with which they tamper.
– Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Click on the image at left to see more Interrelated sculpture photos.

Click here to see and read more about the entire process for this installation.