Cope by Damien Vera
A walk in the park just got a little more interesting. Damien Vera’s Cope has found a temporary home in Rye Town Park. The 14-foot steel sculpture, on loan from The Art Students League of New York, was originally exhibited in New York City’s Riverside Park in 2012. It will be on display in Rye Town Park through the summer of 2017 as part of The Rye Arts Center’s Public Art Initiative.
“Cope is a wonderful addition to Rye Town Park,” says President of the Rye Town Park Commission, Gary Zuckerman. “It adds another dimension to the concept of enhancing the passive uses of the Park. Placing artistic endeavors within its natural beauty further adds to Rye Town Park’s symmetry and elegance. We welcome similar ideas from all of the Park’s stakeholders.”
The sculpture is comprised of five curved structures of varying heights. The outward-facing sides of each are made of smooth stainless steel. The inward-facing sides consist of a more harsh and industrial-looking, rusted steel.
Encased within each tower is a cast stone sculpture of a human figure. These hidden statues are only visible through a small slit in each tower. They will go completely unnoticed by most people as they pass by. “I want it to be for curiosity,” explains Vera whose goal for the piece was to create an environment with which the viewer can interact. It serves as a reward for the more inquisitive viewers who take the time to engage with the piece.
Cope tells two stories. From the outside, it is abstract, strong, and shining; something to add a creative flare to the landscape. Cast against the seaside part, some may see the structures as sails or fins, others may see the sculpture as a giant claw breaking through the earth. But, once you climb into the space between the five towers, the work transforms. Only then, do you see the raw and rusted steel and the small openings through which you can view the isolated human figures.
This sculpture is the newest installment of The Rye Arts Center’s Public Art Initiative. Local artist, Bob Clyatt, who has been instrumental to this project says, “Damien’s work is a great example of the caliber of sculpture that we can hope to bring here in the years ahead through The Rye Arts Center Public Art Initiative — it enriches our community and creates an opportunity for artists to generate excitement about their work.”