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Sculpture unveiled at The Springs: Swiss artist created stainless steel, water work


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Nov. 22--Malcolm Bryant hopes the third installment in the community's outdoor sculpture project will make a great first impression of The Springs Health Center.

The Owensboro Public Art Commission unveiled the large stainless steel and water sculpture Tuesday at the health center on East Parrish Avenue. The piece was purchased by Bryant and his wife, Sally.

The sculpture called "Acclivis" was constructed by Housi Knecht of Berne, Switzerland. "Acclivis" is a Latin word meaning "to go up from," Knecht said.

"It's an honor for me to make this work for your community," he told the people that gathered for the unveiling outside the center.

Knecht's work is the third of six sculptures to be installed at sites around Owensboro. The first is in front of Moore, Malone & Safreed, a law firm on East Fourth Street, and the second is near Gallery 412 at Second and Clay streets.

Bryant said he became familiar with Knecht's work while visiting his daughter at Furman University in North Carolina.

He wrote down the artist's name, researched his work on the Internet and found an e-mail address for Knecht.

"He visited Owensboro and came up with a design that fit just right," Bryan said.

Knecht's monumental sculptures are featured in museums and private and corporate collections internationally. His work can be found at Duke University, Naples Center for Contemporary Art and General Electric. And in major international collections, including the International Science Center in Bubendorf, Switzerland, and the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai.

Knecht said he's inspired by water, therefore many of his pieces are fountains. Historically, he said, people gathered around fountains to communicate with others.

"Water is also the spirit of life," he said.

Knecht wants his art to "reflect joy and interest in life."

Sally Bryant said she enjoyed the process of finding and working with the artist.

"I don't normally gravitate toward contemporary or abstract art, but I was just drawn to it," she said.

The Owensboro Public Art Commission's other sculpture installations are scheduled for later this year and early 2007.

Art will be installed at the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center, Texas Gas Transmission LLC and the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, said Mary Bryan Hood, director of the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art.

The sculptures, except for the Bryants', were selected from the commission's 2005 national exhibition for outdoor sculptures presented by the museum, which received more than 1,000 proposals from professional artists across the country.

The commission plans a 2007 biennial from which prospective sponsors may select additional works of outdoor art for Owensboro's project, said Hood, who also serves as the commission's chairwoman.

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Copyright (c) 2006, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

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