Iron Forming Landscape: Iron.Stone Symposium

 The Open-Air Art Museum at Pedvale was opened by sculptor Ojārs Arvīds Feldbergs in 1991 and is now a State Historical Monument. The 500 acre museum emphasizes the integration of art, culture and landscape and redirects our experience of landscape and the materials and processes of nature as aesthetic events. It is this dual focus, on art and landscape that makes the Open-Air Art Museum at Pedvale such a relevant and appropriate site for the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art.

The history of iron in the landscape is as old as the earth; experienced mostly through the rich reds and yellows of iron oxide stained sands, or the occasional nugget of iron caught within another stone. The first iron that became known to ancient peoples was from meteorites, as blazing rocks fell to earth and were harvested for their mystical significance. As understanding of the material grew, primitive pit furnaces developed into the behemoths of the industrial revolution and the landscape that iron lived in was ransacked for its wealth of material. Iron is an element of life itself. It is within us, and within the core of the earth. Contemporary cast iron sculpture is informed by this history, embodies it, and carries it in new and substantive directions through interpretations of art, ritual and landscape.

Unique to this conference will be the emphasis on iron within landscape, not only as a material found within the landscape but also as an aesthetic element installed within the landscape. Iron has become such an integral element of our experience within the landscape. It is the essence of the industrial revolution, elemental to our farming, our building, our traveling and our living. The opportunity to aesthetically re-evaluate the relationship of iron within the landscape, its history and possibility, will be one of the incredibly rich opportunities formed by the location of the conference at the Open-Air Art Museum at Pedvale.

Carl Billingsley – Iron.Stone Projects
Professor, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC – billingsleyc/at/ecu/dot/edu
Ken Payne – Iron.Stone Projects
Professor of Sculpture, Buffalo State College, New York –