Atom – Rebar Sphere
Buffalo Creek Art Center 2018
“Atom – Rebar Sphere” was designed and built by the artist at Buffalo Creek Art Center, in Nevada in the late summer of 2018. The artist Philip Vaughan worked alongside and with the help of fellow artists Carole Halle, Hector Ortega and Mike Hansel, with the technical assistance of the Center staff and caretaker Bill Matulich and owner and founder, Steve Hardy. It is now permanently installed at the Sculpture Park there.
The Rebar Sphere is a form that is both solid and open. Its origins lie in early 20thcentury particle physics and philosophy. We sense matter as hard stuff, yet a closer examination of matter reveals that it is made up of atoms and those atoms are in turn made up of charged electrons spinning in micro orbits and they are lacking in any hard substance, they are in fact bits of energy flying around nothing. The whole of matter is in fact an illusion, yet it is real enough to hurt if we drop something on our foot..
Atom - Rebar Sphere creates a spherical form out of an orthogonal grid, mirroring the way we look at and analyze form. From close up its nearly transparent yet from a distance it looks like a solid and in fact projects a shadow in sunlight.
When the observer moves around the work a visual illusion, akin to a moire pattern is created. This is part of the fascination that the artist has for these kinds of complex structures. His other kinetic work often involves visual illusions of apparent movement, such as his animated and choreographed light sculptures in neon and other media.
The nature of the work is industrial in the sense that the steel is the same rebar that is used in heavy concrete construction yet the visual sense is lightness. That contrast pleases the artist. The Sphere sits out in the landscape now, the wind blowing right through it almost as if it was not there at all. Hopefully birds might in time discover it and perch on its bars.