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“Ghost Structures” exhibit unites art, science, philosophy

Science, philosophy and art converge this fall as Belmont alumnus Andy Harding hosts his sculpture series “Ghost Structures” at the Leu Art Gallery in the Lila D. Bunch Library.

The exhibit centers on a series of wooden structures in sharp, enigmatic tangles and infinite loops. The gallery lights cast linear shadows onto the floor in extensions of the structures themselves.

While making the sculptures, Harding, who graduated from Belmont with a chemistry degree, was inspired by the words of 20th century Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who said, “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real,” and the elusive qualities of particles and energy.

“What we have in this world, in this solar system, in our bodies–all those things have come from the far reaches of space and will one day go back to dust and be set adrift in the cosmos,” Harding said at the show’s gallery talk on Thursday. “I’m fascinated by the idea that everything keeps cycling back on itself.”

The lumber that makes up each of the featured structures came from the rafters of a 1930s Tudor-style house in Hardin’s neighborhood. This enables the work to take on a new life and adds to the cyclical theme he had in mind for the series, he said.

“One of the things I’m trying to do as an artist is create a kind of alchemy, not by turning base metals into gold, but by trying to give meaning to materials that maybe wouldn’t otherwise have meaning, or that you wouldn’t necessarily attribute meaning to,” Harding said.

In accordance with the natural philosophy of the work, Harding said he also strived for the series’ construction to be as spontaneous as possible, working without any set plans.

“I didn’t sit down and draw all of these out. I basically just began work and let the process guide the making. I think that echoes some of how nature itself can build formations and organisms can develop in that way,” he said. “There’s not always a known end point with how a crystal grows or how a rock face develops.”

“Ghost Structures” will be on display in Lila D. Bunch Library until Nov. 30.

Photo by Riley Wallace

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