Sarah McAllister Photography
Before WAI's transformation
By Fitzhugh Karol , 2023
8’4” H x 21’ 8” W x 13’ 9” D
With this new installation, Fitzhugh Karol aims to honor Rock Hill's beauty as well as its industrial roots. The piece is floral in design, its profile a nod to the natural beauty of a flower's petals. One of the first things Karol noticed in Rock Hill was the beautiful yellow King Humbert canna lily in the yard of the nearby Episcopal church, which ties in with the warm and bright color of the sculpture.
Karol was also struck by Rock Hill's adaptive reuse of buildings and materials, with new businesses and homes taking on the structures of old mill buildings, a power plant, and the cotton factory. The rugged steel construction of the sculpture nods to the preservation and reinvention of the industrial past.
Both floral design and industrial roots come together naturally in this sculpture, which
aims to be a compliment to the city and its cultural landscape.
WAI commissioned New York-based sculptor, Fitzhugh Karol, to transform White Street's pocket corner. The theme of the White Street green space is one of contemplation, respite, and or inspiration. Karol’s interpretation of this theme offers a twist on the concept of reflection. In a fast-paced society, for Karol, play and discovery are the keys to slowing down.
According to Karol, “I’d like to create a space for contemplation, engagement, play, and discovery. I consider these sculptures experimental objects that add to public infrastructure and create an inviting and unconventional experience with art. The gravity of these steel works projects a calm confidence that offers the viewers certainty, and the sculptures invite viewers to inhabit public space together. The sculptures, like their location, propose no barrier to entry, and can be interacted with according to the viewer’s discretion. The work invites viewer engagement with interactive features such as places to jump through, sit, and move around.”
Karol was the most meritorious applicant WAI had for our juried competition in 2022. He is a sculptor based in Brooklyn, NY, and he has a great deal of experience in creating large-scale public works. In 2017, Karol was contracted to create three monumental sculptures at a civic scale for two NYC Parks. In 2018 and 2019, two of these large-scale sculptures were recycled into two series of multiple smaller interactive works, Fields Jax and ReSearches. Karol’s newest public work is “Approach”, a piece for the New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge made from reclaimed material from the current and previous bridges. These large-scale public projects have prepared Karol to take on commissions of all sizes as he enjoys the many elements of creating site-specific works.
Learn more about Karol and his work https://www.fitzhughkarol.com/