The innate, inescapable connection between humans and the natural world is visualized in a new piece of public sculpture recently installed on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus. Colossal AcornHead, a five-foot-long bronze by the artist Leslie Fry, rests in the stone-walled raised tree bed just below Tisch Library—situated so that it appears to have “fallen” from a tree.
The sculpture’s installation is a one-year pilot project for what the Tufts University Art Gallery and its advisory board hope will be a broader public art initiative on campus, with the eventual installation of other modern and contemporary sculpture along high-traffic walkways.
The art gallery and gifts from its patrons paid for costs associated with the pilot public art project, while the Tufts operations budget funded the installation of the sculpture.
Colossal AcornHead depicts an acorn with a human visage, embellished with features inspired by ancient Assyrian, Thracian and archaic Greek art and other details from medieval architecture. The centers of the eyes are cast from real acorns.
“In my art, the natural world connects with the human-made world,” says Fry. “As a narrative, I imagine that Colossal AcornHead is longing to be a real acorn—to be released from its state of artistic abstraction and to return to nature.
“For me, this sculpture is about human consciousness rooted in nature—that our heads and the earth are inseparable and symbiotic. Our heads have done great damage to our earth, and I think Colossal AcornHead is a good reminder of our essential connectedness,” she says. (To hear an audio recording by Fry with more details about the sculpture, call 1.617.449.7520 and press 202#.)
Fry, who works out of studios in Vermont and Florida, has a long record of public art commissions and projects and has taught sculpture at several universities. After it leaves Tufts in spring 2013, Colossal AcornHead will be exhibited at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Mass.