River Objects

2009 Art on the River Sculpture

Skip Willits - Camanche, Iowa

Artist's Statement: The flowing river plays a big part in the piece. On the island forests of the Mississippi River there are large chunks of solid rectangular Styrofoam blocks lying about. Once used as dock floats, they’ve been scattered about from flooding. The rushing waters begin a process. River floods come and go, water levels rise and fall. Over many seasons the block becomes worn and weather sculpted by nature, waiting to be realized as an art object. I use these naturally sculpted objects in my artwork as a way to create a sense of mass. 
River Objects
Jurists' Comments:
"I have visited ancient ritual sites around the world and I can relate to the installation of the large blocks of found worn Styrofoam. They give off a feeling of our past but relate to the environment of the present and some of the dangers of our products when released into our rivers. I enjoy visiting historic sites. Think of Stonehenge and other megalithic sites and the feelings they evoke, and I think this work will also make you wonder."

"This series of sculptures provoked some serious discussion. How are "found objects" truly art since the artist had literally very little to do with their creation? I think artists have an eye that leads them to make discoveries and then are willing to take the risk in sharing them with the public. Such is the case with River Objects. Styrofoam dock floats frequently break free during flood events and certainly eastern Iowa has had more than their share of flooding. The battering, weathering and exposure to chemicals these objects endured until the water retreated sculpted the blocks in ways only chaos can determine. These monolith sculptures attest to our presence along the river much like Stonehenge does in England."