- by Donna Conklin King
Donna Conklin King
fiberglass reinforced concrete, concrete stain, silver leaf, phosphorescent paint
Location: Village Green (where Broad St. meets Elm St.)
This large-scale mural of clouds and sky explores the possibilities of concrete as a medium while addressing the relationship between nature, architecture, and the inevitable ruins of civilization. Celebrating the object’s history by emphasizing its imperfections with silver leaf, the sculpture itself becomes an artifact, highlighting the notions of resiliency, history, and archeology. On the reverse side are lines from Amanda Gorman’s poem “The Hill We Climb” in phosphorescent painted letters.
As a girl growing up next to the woods in New Jersey, Donna Conklin King built forts from scavenged wood, and learned clay and stone carving from local artists before studying Lithography and Sculpture at Skidmore College. After an apprenticeship at the Johnson Atelier Fine Art Foundry, where she learned welding and lost wax bronze casting, she attended the Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers University where she received an MFA in Sculpture. A recipient of a Fellowship in Sculpture from the NJ State Council on the Arts, King has exhibited her works throughout the U.S. and was included in the NJ Arts Annual in 2020 and 2021. She maintains a studio at Manufacturer’s Village in East Orange and her public art can be seen nearby at both the Wildflower Sculpture Center and the Turtleback Zoo.
“Concrete is an ancient and versatile material and I am fascinated with the possibilities of casting, forming, and coloring it,” says King. “I often cast concrete forms out of food containers, tin ceiling tiles and fabric molds,” she says, “sometimes integrating doilies, found porcelain objects or 24K gold leaf. An ever-present vein in my work is the concept of Kintsugi, an ancient Japanese technique that celebrates an object’s history by emphasizing its imperfections with gold leaf instead of disguising them. Conceptually, it suggests that we repair something that has given us many years of love and service, but restore it so that it is more beautiful than it was before. For me, this concept resembles a life well loved. We humans are a constantly changing landscape of fracture, repair and growth.”
Take a Look!
Location: Village Green - South East Quad
Installation Status: Current Installations