About the artist:

Wencel says, “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to return to environmental installation in a water setting. It’s been a while. In 2002 I installed a floating man-bird-fish effigy in Lake Wingra near Edgewood College, in rough imitation of the nearby Ho-Chunk water spirit mounds.”

“A few years before that, I presented “Riverworks,” a 10-day-long group exhibit of temporary artwork, similarly installed along the Yahara River. In addition to some exquisite works by worthy artists (including “Reflections’” own John Miller), I installed a few of my own pieces: a painting on the underside of the Rutledge St. bridge, a floating homage to Otis Redding, a floating self-portrait called – you guessed it – Narcissus, and a dusk launch of candle-lit, visitor-folded origami boats. That project was a ton of work but a lot of fun.”


About the piece:

Wencel has put together a sculptural composition that employs that innate energy still present in discarded boats using principles of ikebana (traditional Japanese cut flower/vegetation design). She says, “Hydrodynamically efficient boat forms – especially those that use sail or human power – are beautiful when they are seen in the normal functioning orientation; but some boats just look stunning, like they are moving even when still.” This assemblage resonates strongly with the natural and cultural history of the site. During Madison’s early years, the open tracts of undeveloped isthmus wetland were used as a dumping ground for dead stock and disused carts; more recently, this spot was a UW crew boat launch and site of metal storage buildings. It is hoped that the composition will create a conversation (or a memento mori) with all watercraft, motorless and otherwise, that navigate the river.

Wencel’s work is funded in part by Dane Arts.