Bison’s Eye View

A sketch by J. Aaron Alderman keeps his vision on track.

When Bold Life last checked in with J. Aaron Alderman, the Brevard native was newly sponsored by Haen Gallery and known for his coiled-steel animal sculptures, installed in various downtown spots. This Friday, Haen unveils Alderman’s one-ton bison sculpture, a commissioned work and part of an installation that will eventually make its way to Lowe Park in Marion, Iowa.

The work comprises a nine-foot-long, six-and-a-half-foot tall bison and four humans — a Native American man carrying a medicine wheel, two farmers, and a figurative representation of time. The ambitious piece comments on the history of the Plains and prairie life and was constructed in part from salvaged railroad materials, a comment on the railroad’s enormous financial, environmental, and cultural impact in the 19th-century Midwest.

Gallery manager Leslie Logermann describes some of Alderman’s process in a press statement: “With the weight of the railroad material, and a true bison having relatively small, skinny legs, he needed to make sure the sculpture could hold its own weight while capturing the impressive mass … Alderman’s solution was to create the legs of the sculpture as essentially solid and then branch out to form the large, hollow form of the body. With two-thirds of the sculpture’s weight from the shoulder to neck, the final piece weighs in just under a ton. Structural concerns addressed, it was also important for Alderman to meet the challenge of capturing the spirit of the animal, keeping it in line with what the selection committee for the project wanted, but also making something unique, stylized, and expressive.” The piece took four months to build and will be on view at Haen through August 6.

Opening reception Friday, July 28, 5-8pm during Brevards 4th Friday Gallery Walk. Haen Gallery is located at 200 King St. in the historic Brevard Lumberyard Arts District. 828-883-3268.


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