Space. Light. Time. Abstract concepts that nevertheless have tangible impacts on human perceptions of daily life. Joining the JSC fine arts faculty in 2014, Assistant Professor Michael Zebrowski creates architectural forms as a means of investigating and documenting light, space and time. Taking inspiration from physics, astronomy and astrophysics, Michael’s sculptures cross the boundaries of architecture, sculpture, and invention and explore the relationships between human perception and the natural laws that govern our universe.
The place-based nature of his artistic investigations makes it likely that you’ll find his work outside a traditional art space (ie, gallery). Locally, one of his pieces, “Observatory,” can be found on the Stowe VT Recreation Path as part of Helen Day Art Center’s “Exposed” outdoor sculpture exhibition. The sculpture is a viewing platform pointing to the North Star, where the change in season, movement, and space is documented through time-lapse photography.
Additionally, Michael was recently selected as the artist for the solo site-specific and inaugural Artist-in-Residence Project on the grounds of Spruce Peak in Stowe, VT. The project, SURVEY, comprises two distinct installations - “Level” and “Sunrise Sunset.” Both installations are painted bright safety yellow and reference transits — the surveyor tools for measuring horizontal angles — and construction, alluding to the monumental development projects at Spruce Peak. The yellow sculptures, sited in striking contrast to the stark landscape, focus the viewer’s attention on specific points in the landscape, reflect the shape of the surrounding mountains, and echo the architecture. They are beacons, they are tools to measure, they are points on a map, they are surveyors. They offer an opportunity for viewers to stop, observe, reveal and reflect.
Michael brings his interest in the role of public art to his work at the College, as well. In the summer of 2015, his sculpture class created an interactive sculpture in the JSC Quad. At the start of the fall semester, new and returning JSC students were met with large structures spelling out the words I AM. Viewers could touch and climb on this sculpture. They were encouraged to take selfies with it and share their ideas about what they hoped to achieve and become over the course of the new academic year and beyond — yet another way in which architectural sculpture can mark time.