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Measuring 68 feet wide and 12 feet tall, a new outdoor sculpture at Colby College in Waterville was too big to cover, so the artwork was dedicated rather than unveiled on Wednesday. Seven Walls, an expansive piece of public art designed by renowned American artist Sol LeWitt, is prominently located between the Colby College Museum of Art and the main road through campus. Local masons used concrete block to build the structure this summer after LeWitt came up with the concept and presented detailed specifications for its construction.
As the title indicates, the piece is made up of seven walls. They stand independently at various angles to one another with small spaces between.
Nicole Wakely, who graduated from Colby this year and is working in the museum for the summer, was excited as she followed plans for construction of the sculpture, and as she took in the finished piece she said, “I like it a lot.”
“It?s better than I expected. I was worried it would be too monumental and might dwarf the rest of the museum.,” said Wakely, who starts a master’s degree program in art history at Notre Dame in the fall. She admired the texture and the perspectives gained peeping through the separations between walls. Beyond that experiential reaction, Wakely said she appreciates the sculpture within the traditions of minimalism and conceptual art that characterize LeWitt’s works. “Part of it is the way the artist makes you see it,” she said.
Colby President William Adams thanked LeWitt, who had presented the concept and plans to the college as a gift. “I’m very sorry to say that Sol could not be with us today, but we’re thinking about you Sol,” Adams said. “Everyone here is very excited by what you’ve done for Colby and what you’ve done by giving this remarkable work to the College.” Seven years ago LeWitt gave Colby a big, colorful wall drawing for the museum lobby.
Museum Director Hugh Gourley said LeWitt’s structures are in important public and private collections throughout the world. One is a concrete-block pyramid in the National Gallery of Art’s sculpture court in Washington, D.C. Gourley urged people to walk around the new sculpture, to look at it from many angles and to notice how the light and the interaction of the walls make Seven Walls “a very active piece.”
Two years ago the museum installed another important outdoor sculpture–4-5-6 by Richard Serra, which was commissioned for the museum entrance courtyard.