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Osney Lane Oxford Public Art Project Autumn 2014

Osney Lane Development - Oxford - Autumn 2014

I have been working on the two panels of the entrance wall area of this new student accommodation being built in the centre of Oxford for  Cherwell College

My name was put forward by the contractor  Exel Construction following work I did at Chapel Street in Oxford in 2013 - I think this is quite unusual as an introduction to a commission but am really pleased to have made some kind of impression on the contractors!!

Inspiration and context.

My sculptural practice involves journeys and maps and I like to include this in public works and how it might apply to the users of the space I am designing for, in this case students.  I didn’t really get inspired by the location despite the obvious history of the abbey and mill and so I tried to take a different approach to give an exciting dynamic piece that would appeal to the users of the building and passers by.

I took my inspiration for this work from ‘brain maps and pathways’.  Thinking about the student’s path of learning and the close tuition they will have with Cherwell College I researched the process of using the brain and this took me on an exciting discovery of the patterns discovered and drawn by Nobel Prize winner Santiago Ramon y Cajal.  These beautiful drawings really appealed to my process of making a journey in steel and combined with Cajal being a fantastic ‘inspiring scientist who flourished through artistic expression’, I thought this would be a brilliant starting place for the art work and hopefully create some interest for the students that use the space.

Working this idea into the available space, I studied the microscopic photographs of neurons, axons and dendrites and these formed the basis of my designs.

I intended for the panels to have a three dimensional aspect with overlapping parts and a solid body to the cell part of the design. 

The panels have been forged over the last couple of months, each one weighing in at 69 Kilos it has been hard slog!  I enjoyed the challenge of making the cell parts from sheet stock, hammering hot into an oak hollowing block I had turned by local wood turner Paul Swann 

200 hundred hours of making later I have two lovely panels to be galvanized and powder coated prior to installation in early December 2014


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