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Sculptor brings unusual perspective to SUNY Potsdam

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POTSDAM — SUNY Potsdam’s latest artist in residence approaches much of his sculpture in a roundabout way, messing with viewers’ perceptions by imagining what common objects would look like if they were all shaped like a sphere.

Lars E. Fisk has already given this treatment to subjects like a barn, a tree, a street and a Volkswagen. Soon, a spherical Winnebago RV will be unveiled as the latest permanent statue on campus. His creation, the “Winnebagoball,” is part of the college’s annual Lougheed Festival of the Arts. Students are helping to create the sculpture, which will be officially unveiled near the college’s Performing Arts Center on Friday.

“It gives the students an opportunity to take part in the process,” he said. “It’s great for me too, because it serves as a teaching experience.”

Mr. Fisk, a Vermont native now living in Queens, said he enjoys representing a recognizable object using a shape that is fairly uncommon both in nature and in architecture.

“It’s two unrelated things being forced together,” he said. “The act of transformation becomes a point of interest.”

He chose a Winnebago trailer for his Lougheed festival sculpture because of the Adirondack’s connection to the camping industry and because the festival’s sponsors, Donald L. and Kathryn K. Lougheed, own a RV business in Texas.

The interior of the large steel sphere has been furnished with a carpet and soon will be fitted with a dashboard, miniature sink and other typical RV accoutrements. Headlights, a rear window and decals will adorn the outside.

Many of the pieces have been custom-made or repurposed to take their place in the sculpture.

“This sort of approach to sculpture calls for an almost industrial finish,” Mr. Fisk said.

Meanwhile, the festival, which is in its third year, continues with classes, workshops, demonstrations and performances through Sunday.

“It brings all the arts together,” said Michael R. Sitton, dean of the Crane School of Music.

Tonight at 7 p.m. the campus will host a Festival of Light with a burning sculpture and a fashion show.

For Crane students, the highlight of the festival comes on Saturday.

“The biggest thing of course is the annual end-of-year concert that’s coming up,” Mr. Sitton said. Students, faculty and guest musicians will perform Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and Franz Schubert’s unfinished symphony at Hosmer Hall at 7:30 p.m.

A full schedule of festival events can be found at http://wdt.me/LsXeq5.

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