Paddle Wave, 2007
At 1138 Broadway
Christopher Fennell grew up in Florida doing construction work, then got an engineering degree from the University of South Florida and went to work for Motorola Inc. in robotics. A job with British Aerospace designing flight simulators in Tampa, Fla., followed, but Fennell said he got bored with using existing components to design things. He wanted to create from scratch. So he went back to school and earned a MFA degree from the University of Georgia. One of his professors wanted him to tear down an old barn, which inspired Fennell to build his first colossal sculpture. “I saw the barn falling down, and then the idea came to build a wave,” Fennell said. He built the barn ‘wave’ in 2000 at UGA, then followed it by fusing 150 bicycles together to create a ‘tornado’ in 2001. Using discarded objects to create sculpture has become his theme.”
“I build architectural skeletons from discarded objects. I transform these objects into dynamic pieces and connect them into recognizable shapes of waves, tornados and pillars of fire. “Christopher Fennell used salvaged flooring from the Eagle & Phenix Mill to construct Paddle Wave. Intrigued by the paddle wheel ship at the Columbus Naval Museum, he uses the shape of the wheel and wraps two waves around it. The artist explains: “From a distance it looks like a porcupine of boards but by opening up the center of the paddleboat, the viewer can walk to the center of the waves, where they become the fire within the steam engine.” Take a few steps back, walk around and through the structure and you may actually appreciate the dynamic interaction of wood, shapes and space.