COLUMBUS, Ohio – Artist and architectural designer Maya Lin is working to restore an outdoor sculpture in Ohio that she looks back on as a career breakthrough.
Lin visited Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts on Saturday to help replace some of the 43 tons of shattered, recycled glass in the sculpture known as Groundswell. She planned a free talk on the process and other topics today.
Best known for her Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, Lin’s work now spans the globe. She grew up in Athens, Ohio, where her Chinese immigrant parents taught at Ohio University.
The conical mounds and orderly pattern of Groundswell are meant to evoke nature, the contours of southern Ohio’s Native American earthworks and the order of a Zen garden.
She said when she completed it in 1993, as a Wexner artist-in-residence, Groundswell became her first outdoor, site-specific artwork.
It’s a very big important work for me, she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. I love it. It has an ephemeral quality.
Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin calls it Lin’s garden of glass – a work that filled the empty spaces left in architect Peter Eisenman’s unique design of the Columbus museum.
Lin is known for integrating natural shapes and environmental concepts into her work. She said the cone-shaped towers in Groundswell came from the natural process that’s used to pour glass.
During its 20 years on the Ohio State campus, Groundswell had been repeatedly cleaned to remove sand, leaves and other debris or to repair vandalism.
The reality is they’ve had to remake it a few times, Lin said.
About five years ago, a close look at the glass determined the entire work needed to be pulled apart and refurbished.
Lin rose to national prominence in 1981 when she won the international design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial while an undergraduate student at Yale University.