The environment in which their work appears is often important to sculptors. Rob Lorenson looked not only at the intersection where Reinvented is placed, but beyond it, at what defines the city of Newport News. His ideas about what should go on that site were formed by two of the local economic drivers: manufacturing (dominated by a shipyard making submarines and aircraft carriers) and technology centered around nearby research centers that look deep within matter’s subatomic particles, at the Jefferson Lab, and far into space, at the NASA Langley Research Center.
Precise and polished, mechanistic and modern, Reinvented is a perfect fit for the city’s major industrial and commercial center. Its stainless steel material, clean lines and burnished surface give it what Lorenson calls a “sleek, high-tech feel,” while “they also recall the industries that have been the base of the city.”
Rather than making himself obvious in his art, Lorenson strives to create works that are so “exceptionally crafted as to remove the hand of the artist. The purpose of this is to further emphasize the compositional qualities of the work. I also intend to make the work look manufactured, as though it were an industrial product produced in a factory, like the industrial forms that originally influenced it.”
Audio Tour: Hear Lorenson tell you about his piece
Artist: Rob Lorenson
Details: Stainless steel, 16′ diameter. Made in Massachusetts. Installed in 2005.
Site: Intersection of Canon and Thimble Shoals Boulevards, Oyster Point
About The Artist: ROB LORENSON
Rob Lorenson’s precise, polished, geometric works are familiar to people in communities across the nation. His sculptures have been acquired by colleges, art centers, developments and corporate collectors, and he has shown his work in dozens of individual and group exhibitions and art festivals from San Francisco to Boston. They range from small table-top pieces to massive works on the scale of Newport News’s Reinvented, which is 16’ in diameter. What they have in common is that they are made of metal, using similar techniques and drawing on expertise Lorenson developed during fabrication apprenticeships with three metals-intensive sculptors.
Lorenson earned his MFA in Sculpture from Northern Illinois University and his BFA from the University of North Iowa. Today, he lives and works in southeastern Massachusetts, where he is a professor on the faculty of the Art Department at Bridgewater State College.
Lorenson’s website: roblorensonsculpture.com