Construction of the Stones Sacred Space installation began in Spring of 2006 and has continued to evolve over the years. The core structure is a timber frame with tin walls and roof. The interior space consists of a circular ring around 3 feet deep that surrounds a raised section of earth and that is surrounded by a raised section of earth (this creates a series of three circles on the floor of the structure). The interior raised circle holds the logs (more circular forms) that the stones are arranged on. The exterior ring of raised earth holds of series of logs that support a board between every two logs. The end result is a narrow ledge that runs the circumference of the installation. On this ledge the viewer has access to a variety of objects including; candles and various elements from former installations such as links of chain, ceramic vessels, cobalt blue bottles, years of accumulated wax and more.
History and Physical Attributes of the Structure: The shape of the structure is heavily influenced by the Navajo hoga and the Mongolian yurt. The circular form also references a common shape found throughout nature. The circle was relevant to me for many reasons. I wanted to influence the path of the viewer; providing them with a free flowing route that upon entering allows them to choose either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction of movement. The first 2 years the entire interior floor was ground level. The materials that make up the structure also play a relevant role in concept. They are all recycled materials from the family farm in Stillmore, Georgia. There are a total of 4 generations of source material from the Purcell line used in the construction of the Sacred Space. If one looks carefully at the interior walls you may be able to make out a name etched in the walls from each of the four generations represented. In addition to materials representing a link to my family, my father also contributed sweat and time in assisting with construction of the space. Two years ago I added a 3 foot deep path that created a ring around the interior structure. At the same time I started construction on an extension to the primary structure that provided an area of transition between the exterior space and the interior space. Last year I added depth to the interior ring and brought the ring out into the extended space where it ended with a red clay staircase allowing the viewer access to the lower level. I also removed the roof from the extended section and added materials to increase the height of the walls thereby removing the horizon line from the viewers line of sight. These additions served two functions. One was to allow the viewer to enter into the sub-layers of the earth. Giving the interior space the illusion of being much taller than it actually is. This is also put the viewer closer to the surface of the earth. As the viewer walks down the clay steps the earth gives the effect rising up around them. While in the interior space this physical attribute plays with the perception of scale. The reason for adding the extended portion of the interior space was to provide a thresh hold the viewer was responsible for crossing over. This mid section also provided a buffer or transition area as the viewer moved from the Art in the Woods exhibition into a quite, solitary area to have a unique and personal experience. As with most of my Sacred Space installations viewers are only allowed to enter one person at the time. I also encourage the viewer to enter the space without shoes for a full sensory experience. This in addition to the burning incense and lit candles provides the viewer with an experience that affects several senses simultaneously therefor making the experience more memorable and easier to recall. One other element that makes the experience unique are the holes tapped through the tin roof. As the sun rises and sets it casts piercing rays of sunlight through these holes which at certain points of day illuminate certain objects within the structure. The rays of light are constantly in flux so that each viewers experience is unique to them and can only be shared through story telling or some form of documentation.
The site as a whole is currently in flux again. The extension walls have been removed and I am now in the process of opening up the roof. Come out to Art in the Woods this April 3, 2010 to see the new Sacred Space Stones Installation.