Durham Herald Sun writes about Beehive Discoballs



Artist plans public project with  Durham opening
The Herald Sun

To contribute to this project, visit http://kck.st/PrZDHh,  or visit www.kickstarter.com and search  under “beehive disco balls.” This campaign ends Wednesday at midnight.
By Cliff Bellamy
cbellamy@heraldsun.com;  919-419-6744
DURHAM – Wendy Kowalski is best known for her brightly  colored paintings using sfumato, an Italian technique in which colors blend into  each other without boundaries. Next April, Kowalski plans to unveil her first  large metal sculptures and her first public art project in an event at Motorco  Music Hall.
Kowalski is planning to build six beehive disco balls, each  six feet tall, which will have hexagons made from aluminum from Vega Metals in  Durham, titled “Pollen Path Beehive Disco Balls.” These hexagons will be  fastened to a frame made of recycled metal, and a light will glow from the  inside of each sculpture. To build these sculptures, Kowalski is seeking to  raise $5,000 through the Kickstarter fundraising site. (As of this writing, she  was approaching the halfway point. The campaign expires at midnight  Wednesday.)
The sculptures draw on several influences, Kowalski said – her love of dance and movement, her love of music, her interest in the thought  and work of R. Buckminster Fuller, and her concern about the plight of honeybees  and the natural world. In her video for Kickstarter, Kowalski recalls how she  became interested in Fuller, who invented the geodesic dome, after participating  in Burning Man, an annual art-urban planning event in Nevada, in 2010. She has  used the hexagon in her paintings, and the hexagons that are central to the  sculpture take their inspiration from Fuller’s dome invention, she said. “There  was something [Fuller] was saying about the future, about living in these domes,  rather than separate houses,” Kowalski said.
A member of the  Greensboro-based band Holy Ghost Tent Revival introduced her to the plight of  honey bees, whose numbers have declined in recent years, and Kowalski realized  that she had painted the honeycomb shape, which also is hexagonal, in several of  her paintings. The symbol hints at the idea of connectedness, which Kowalski  said is central to this sculpture.
“There’s a reason we’re drawn to  artwork, some magical place we go. I would hope that the disco balls would  transport people to that place,” she said. She invites visitors to come to  Motorco and dance under the disco balls next year.
Many of her paintings  feature circus performers, and on her website beecombfreedom.com she has videos  of puppetry, stilt dancing, and other types of movement. Above all, music is  central to these sculptures and all her art. “I love music and can’t paint  without it,” she said in an email message. She also mentions dubstep, electronic  music, and trance, all of which will be elements in the Motorco event.
Kowalski plans to make the sculptures at her studio in Wilmington, where  she has been living for about seven years. She has numerous ties to the Durham  area, having participated in several ArtWalks and at the Shakori Hills festival.  She has produced a mock-up of the first sculpture at Vega Metals, where sculptor  Renee Leverty helped her, and she has worked at the MonkeyBottom Collaborative  metal sculpture studio.
Leverty said she helped Kowalski hammer the  aluminum into hexagon shapes “in order to create better reflection and  movement.” She also advised her about the best way of connecting metal to create  that sense of movement. Leverty stressed that her role is strictly advisory,  that she’s offering Kowalski help if she needs it.
“It’s going to be a  lot of work,” Kowalski said, and she wants “to take the time to learn how to  fabricate them correctly.”
She wants the disco ball project to be a  traveling exhibit, with Durham being the place for the unveiling. She envisions  the Motorco opening to be an all-day event, what Kowalski calls “a day of  illumination,” with seminars on beekeeping, along with music, dance and other  activities. Eventually, she said she would like the disco balls to be displayed  in Durham Central Park, or other places downtown.
Kowalski has created  some smaller metal sculptures in the past two years. “I really felt compelled to  make them,” she said of those projects. The beehive disco balls will be her  first large-scale sculpture and her first public art.
She wants viewers  of this work to experience “a sense of wonder, wonder about the natural world as  well as their internal world … that happy realm I’m always trying to find in my  paintings.”

Read more:  The Herald-Sun – Artist plans public project with Durham opening

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s