It’s all been a delicate balance for William Dennisuk.
For a sculptor of subtle yet complex structures, Dennisuk’s odyssey from early-stage idea to final-stage installation of a porous, vase-like work of bronze rods and mesh at a bend of the Huron River comes with a simple message: Nature and communities are inextricably linked. The project itself offers a case in point.
After eight months of tailoring the project to meet rigorous standards of city and state environmental officials along with the University of Michigan’s committee on public art, Dennisuk’s elegant sculptural vessel were installed early summer on the Huron River near the University of Michigan’s Nichols Arboretum. It marked the first public art sculpture to be displayed on the winding waterway.
“The project draws attention to our relationship with water, and by extension, the larger environment,” said Dennisuk, 2009-2010 Roman J. Witt Artist Residency at U-M School of Art & Design. The residency supports artists creating new work in collaboration with U-M students and faculty.
The river-based sculpture is the second of Dennisuk’s three-phase Vessel Project, an outdoor pubic art installation in Ann Arbor. In late April, a sculpture was installed in the Lurie reflecting pool outside U-M’s College of Engineering on north campus. Another of Dennisuk’s sculptures was erected in Gallup Park.
A vessel-like form suspended in water distinguishes each of Dennisuk’s installations, and a supple mesh covering aims to suggest the pliable and delicate relationship between the environment and those observing the art.
Originally from Detroit, Dennisuk has been living in Finland for the past 20 years. He returned to Michigan after he was named an artist-in-resident.
Funds for the Witt residency and sculptural installations provided by Penny W. Stamps, who also supports U-M’s School of Art & Design’s popular Penny W. Stamps Lecture Series.