“My sculpture is often placed in public spaces, and it celebrates attributes that enable all of us to thrive – idealism, enthusiasm and the joy of life.” — Dave Caudill
Dave Caudill and the “Odyssey” project
A well-liked, long-time fixture in the local art community, Dave Caudill has several public sculptures in Louisville: at 6th & Main St, the University of Louisville School of Music, Maryhurst Alternative School, the Crescent Hill public library, and the offices of the Waterfront Development Corp in downtown. His latest project is ambitious, even for an artist who has installed a large metal sculpture on the ocean floor.
How did you first hit upon the idea of “Odyssey”?
A few years ago, I realized the synthesis of a fingerprint and labyrinth could make a powerful combination that prompted consideration of identity and our individual journeys though life.
How do you think it fits in with the themes of your past work? Or does it?
I see it as another iteration of the theme of humanity in harmony with the rest of nature, a theme that I first addressed with an undersea sculpture in 1995.
Do you worry a labyrinth will intimidate people? Are people afraid of getting lost?
Walking a labyrinth is different from a maze, in that once you'e on a path, it takes you to the center and back out again - there is no confusion or opportunity to get confused or lost as in a maze, as long as you stay on a path. Also, everything is at ground level - there are no walls that create blind spots. This misunderstanding is common, but a small plaque at the entrance to Odyssey will clarify the difference.
We are creating a meditative walking experience fused with a bold piece of public art.
You just returned from Bolivia, where you were involved in a similar project. What was your experience there?
The Bolivian Odyssey differs from my proposal for Louisville in that it’s half the size (1/4 the size of a football field) and uses gravel instead of flat terrazzo over concrete for the paths. The Bolivian project is located in a rural area and creating a handicapped accessible design was not an option.
Who are your collaborators, and how did you connect with them?
I received a residency to start construction from Teresa Camacho-Hull, the owner and director of Ars.Natura.Uta, an art center near La Paz. She has been developing the center as a site dedicated to addressing the need to understand that the wholeness of our relationship to nature is essential to the health of both humanity and the planet. I met her at a sculptor’s conference in Pittsburgh, an event I was able to attend by a grant from Louisville’s Great Meadows Foundation. Teresa’s staff of three men was indispensable for a 2-week schedule.
What would be your dream location for “Odyssey”?
I’d like to see it in an area conducive to reflection and meditation, like a park. That being said, a strong design can go a long way toward overcoming the noise of an urban environment and establishing a unique asset for the city.
Hometown: Corbin, Kentucky
Education: University of Kentucky, 1970; Louisville School of Art, 1973; Anderson Ranch, CO, 2000 & 2001
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