The iron works at Artifacts-on-Main
Sculptures by (from front to back) Jonathan Bowling, Hans Gerhard and Nol Putnam are among the new works sprouting in the yard at Artifacts-on-Main.
Artifacts-on-Main is now displaying outdoor steel and iron sculpture by local artists Hans Gerhard and Nol Putnam as well as an artist new to the area, Jonathan Bowling.
Like Gerhard, the North Carolina-based Bowling uses found objects and scrap metal to create durable art — the former creating expressions of single or multiple figures, as well as abstract works using mostly farm scrap metal, the latter using every type of scrap one can think of to create depictions of animals, from horses and goats to pigs and deer.
Bowling’s work arrived at the outdoor space last week and the artist himself hoisted it into place. Bowling says he has “been working on a series of steel horses, which focus on interior and negative space as much as on contours and surface. Each ‘horse’ is a series of abstract sculptures which are combined to form the armature for the whole. These pieces are made with the intention of staying outdoors in a public area without the need for extensive maintenance. The materials I use are often from the turn of the last century, which I feel is appropriate for depicting an animal so intertwined with our agrarian past. Repurposed steel provides a sound structure which allows me to work on a scale that lends itself to public spaces.”
Hans Gerhard work has been a staple of the local arts scene for decades, and has found a home at Robert and Joanie Ballard’s Artifacts-on-Main. Both a painter and sculptor, Gerhard says of the latter: “I had to deal with a lot of broken machinery and scrap metal on the dilapidated Rappahannock County farm I had bought 30 years ago. The cleanup took years, and it turned into a new passion to make something amusing and even beautiful out of the crude material.”