By Arthur Stampleman

The Rye Arts Center continues to expand our horizons with its public initiative to add art to the landscape and spark thought and conversation throughout the community. 

The latest installation outside the Milton Road art center is David Provan’s <Private Horizon,> a colorful sculpture fabricated of powder-coated steel. Seen here are line, color and, at first glance, abstraction. But is it actually abstract, or does it represent something real?

RAC members enjoyed a presentation on the work by the artist earlier this month when he was introduced by Rye sculptor Bob Clyatt, the driver behind the art initiative.

<Private Horizon> is essentially a demonstration of the principles of perspective, a tribute to artistic and scientific efforts to improve our understanding of the world, explained Provan. Perspective is the art of drawing solid or three-dimensional objects or scenes on a two-dimensional surface in order to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.

The artist began his presentation with the development of perspective by painters of the Renaissance. In their initial efforts, they utilized single point perspective, in which there is only one vanishing point on the horizon. Provan emphasized the importance of the horizon line that is the boundary between sky and land when an observer looks at an object or scene. He pointed out that there can be multiple perspective points.

<Private Horizon> consists of Provan’s own personal horizon holding six separate constructions, each showing a different perspective. The blue, long, straight, flat steel bar about two-thirds up the sculpture is a representation of his horizon line. Each of the six different portrayals of perspective is attached around the horizon line in one of the primary colors – red, blue, or yellow. The easiest to see are the yellow and red single point perspective representations on either side. The multiple point perspective portrayals are more difficult to recognize. A red construction in the rear shows the perspective when looking up at a tower.

The installation is only temporary and has no permanent home yet, nor does a maquette, one-sixth the size of the final work, which you can view inside The Rye Arts Center.

Provan, a native of California, now lives with his wife in Cold Spring, on the east bank of the Hudson River. After high school he joined the Navy where he served as an airborne reconnaissance operator in Vietnam. After his discharge, he worked as a carpenter, building houses in Japan, and, later, practiced Buddhism in Nepal. Returning to the West, he earned degrees in art and architecture from Yale (B.A. 1979) and the Royal College of Art in London (M.A. 1981). His years in Asia and his interests in art and design coalesced into a long series of sculptures that often embody the ideas of Buddhism and Taoism as manifested in a modernist 21st-century design sense.

Provan’s work has been shown in numerous galleries and museums across the country, including Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York. He has completed several public art projects, including a 200-foot installation of kinetic sculptures for the New York City subway, and a design for a series of innovative historical markers for the Municipal Art Society of New York.

— Arthur Stampleman