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New Sculpture Outside Celentano Hall a Piece of Local Art History

Paul carbonella

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This fall semester, students have been treated with a brand new sight on campus: the large, angular sculpture, composed of slick black steel, newly placed outside of Celentano Hall by local artist, Jonathan Waters. The piece is called Homage for Charles Ginnever.

The process of placing Homage outside of Celentano Hall has been years in-the-making, requiring close correspondence between Mr. Waters and Laura Marsh, the director of The Seton Art Gallery on campus. “It has been a pleasure to work with them,” Waters said. “I like having a piece at the university where it can function as a teaching tool.”

Waters has toured the site outside of Celentano Hall, though Homage is not site-specific. “I think it works very well there,” he said. “It holds the space well and the scale is good. I am pleased with the way it all turned out.”

Homage is made from 5/8 steel flat stocks painted with black satin “Rustoleum” industrial coating, weighing approximately 3,000 lbs. The sculpture’s title harkens back to Waters’ own time at college: “[Charles Ginnever] was my teacher in college and a great sculptor—old school steel sculpture, public stuff…this piece channels him a bit, but it’s also a bit about the power of a wave at sea. I spent a lot of time on the water and in steel boats.”

Jonathan Waters built his first large-scale steel sculpture in the early seventies as a commission piece.

In 1984, he left the Brooklyn/Manhattan art scene to become a commercial fisherman out of Stony Creek, which he would continue to do for twenty years before getting a studio in West Haven and opening a gallery space with another artist, solidifying his return to the visual arts.

The return felt “similar to the old days, except I was a lot older,” Waters recalls. When asked if there were any significant differences between working in New York and Connecticut, he said, “In some ways, it’s easier to work out here for me; Stony Creek, less distraction.”

Waters will be showcasing new steel sculpture and print collage at the Fred Giampietro gallery in New Haven from Oct. 23 until Nov. 21. You can also see his work at the Bushnell Plaza and the Governor’s residence in Hartford.

As for young art students trying to gain a foothold in the local art scene, Waters gave some advice: “I would urge post-grads to get involved locally by participating in city-wide open studios and other open calls for artists, as well as Artspace in New Haven and the Arts Council in New Haven and Hartford. Get to know the players. Also, be active in organizing your own scene. It’s all about networking now. Work hard and have fun with it.”

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
New Sculpture Outside Celentano Hall a Piece of Local Art History