THEB #1 juts out of the ground on North Neil Street in Champaign. The enormous sculpture rests on three geometric corners. Each of these points that touch the ground expand upwards into geometric rectangular shapes. Square metal bars that trace the edges of the form create hollow space. Through this hollow space, the viewer can see the natural landscape that surrounds the object. One of the rectangles reaches diagonally up into the air, far above the ground. The other two shapes, one of which is more rectangular, the other representing more of a square shape, support it. The way the shapes lean upon one another, they could be positioned and held by gravity alone. In the center, the edges of all the shapes interact with one another, creating a moment of density before the lines of the respective shapes expand outwards. The corners of the three shapes do not fit together smoothly to create a perfect corner. Rather the pieces are stuck together at the edges to create a shape.
Artist Jeff Boshart is a fellow Illinoisan, coming from Charleston. His familiarity with the Midwestern landscape is evident in his sculptures. The artist intended for “The harsh geometric forms of the sculpture contrast sharply with the urban and natural elements (Boshart 2012).” In contemporary society we often overlook the natural landscape, and spend our daily lives going from building to building due to our busy schedules and fast paced lives. “Boshart’s intent here is to create frameworks where you can see the landscape through and beyond the artwork. Thus, while pondering the artwork, it is impossible to negate the surroundings, while simultaneously making it impossible to ignore the sculpture (Boshart 2012).” The color of the metal is rusted, creating a natural look to the unnatural material. Depending on the direction you look at the sculpture, the metal may blend into the foliage of surrounding trees, contrast nearby architecture, or even perfectly frame white clouds in a blue sky on a clear day.
Boshart, J. (2012). Artist Statement.