Breach by Roxy Paine
Date(s): May 23, 2004 thru July 23, 2004Breach, a 42-foot tall stainless steel tree by Roxy Paine, is the latest addition to the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery outdoor sculpture collection at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Installed on campus north of Love Library, Breach is one of the artist’s most complex projects, an asymmetrical form with broken branches and limbs that bend back in close proximity to one another. Breach appears scarred, perhaps damaged by lightning or high wind. And, in sporting both fungus that indicates a weakened state and healthy branches, Breach can be seen as being about both life and death.
Set in the Donaldson Garden dedicated to introduced species, Breach reflects Paine’s interest in encouraging “meditation on our relationship to nature—on how we both construct and manipulate nature.” Although Breach is set apart from nearby trees by its reflective surface and, during the summer, lack of leaves, the sculpture realizes the artist’s intention of being “simultaneously part of the landscape and antithetical to that landscape.” It also stimulates thought on the natural and the artificial, and the extent to which the campus landscape is also a human intervention.
Breach was commissioned from a maquette Paine created after visiting the University of Nebraska campus in November 2002. The trunk, which was fabricated in Brooklyn, and branches, assembled by the artist from thousands of pieces of stainless steel tubing in his studio in upstate New York, were shipped to Lincoln this spring. They were installed by Paine and Tony Camillero, assisted by a local rigging crew, in April.