Middlebury College Museum of Art

News & Events

Sculptor Presents Solid State Change to Public at Hillcrest Environmental Center Oct. 25

October 18, 2007

For immediate release: October 19, 2007
Contact: Emmie Donadio, Chief Curator, (802) 443–2240,
donadio@middlebury.edu .

Middlebury, Vt.—New York artist Deborah Fisher, whose sculptureSolid State Change was recently installed on the grounds of Middlebury College’s new Hillcrest Environmental Center, will speak about the work and about her artistic process in an illustrated lecture on Thurs., Oct. 25 at 4:30 p.m. in Hillcrest as part of the College’s celebration of the completion of the Environmental Center. Additional events planned throughout the weekend will highlight the facility, which will be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as exemplifying Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

In conjunction with the planned renovation and expansion of Hillcrest, a former dormitory, the College’s Committee on Art in Public Places began in early 2006 to consider a number of artists who focus on environmental issues. As a result, Fisher was invited to visit the campus last July, to meet with the Hillcrest team, and to return to CAPP in the fall of 2006 with a proposal.

The artist presented her ideas for Solid State Change, which was inspired by the geology and topography of Vermont and alludes to the metamorphic bedrock beneath Middlebury. Working with architect Steve Smith of the Burlington firm Smith Alvarez and Sienkiewycz, Fisher conceived the sculpture in relationship to the exterior curved wall planned as part of the Hillcrest expansion. The sculpture was created from discarded materials that are not biodegradable and not accepted at most landfill sites—primarily rubber tires and the plastic insulation from copper wire. Working from the ground up, Fisher has assembled strata of these recycled elements, supported by a steel armature and held together with 24,000 stainless steel screws. The result is a 6000-pound organic form that appears to have emerged from the ground.

Fisher’s work is informed by her interest in the natural sciences, geology, mineralogy and plate tectonics as well as her concern for the environment. Having moved to the east coast from California in 2003, she currently lives in Brooklyn and works at Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, New York.