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Spinozalith

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(October, 26 1994 - Dedication Ceremony)

Spinozalith is a sculpture that can be found in the Miami University’s sculpture park. Installed in 1994, this public art piece can be spotted on the south side of the museum’s parking lot. Artist Don Lawler was born in Dayton, Ohio but spent his youth in Meade County, Kentucky. This piece was commissioned by a Mr. James H. and Frances R. Allen. Made from Indiana limestone, Spinozalith was created with this specific limestone to echo the material used for the Art Museum facility. This piece can be described as a massive form with two seating areas that contrast the roughly hewn and smoothly worked characteristics of the stone. In Lawlers artist statement on his website he states, "His primary focus is to bring delight to the child inside all of us. Each sculpture has a reason for being – it has a story to tell, usually bearing an educational aspect. He creates contemporary sculptures that focus on the positive. Common themes include spiritual concerns, the goal of self actualization and the potential of daily self renewal." He tries to spark the imagination by maintaining a focus on creativity. 

A master plan for the university included the "Seats of Awareness" project featuring a juried competition to result in multiple commissions from regional artists. This project included seating areas or benches to be placed around the sculpture park. Artists from Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky were invited to participate in this competition. The Thomas Emery Foundation in Cincinnati assisted with funding for the “Seats of Awareness” project. Spinozalith was installed in 1994, along with another sculpture by Don Lawler called Skeuomorph. Both these installations were part of the “Seats of Awareness” project. These projects were both dedicated to professors that inspired Lawler the most during his education. Specifically, Spinozalith was dedicated in honor of Robert B. Butler, professor of art.

Spinozalith weighs around 16,500 pounds and Lawler was forced to work on the piece on a truck for six weeks, doing nothing else. Most people are probably curious for the reasoning behind the name of this sculpture. Lawler stated that he was more interested in the form of the sculpture, than the name itself. That being said, Lawler randomly picked words from a dictionary that he felt had feeling or simply that spoke to him. This immense block of limestone carved into a tete-a-tete, which is a piece of furniture from the Victorian era shaped like an s-curve, allows the occupants to communicate without contact because of the opposite seated positions. Being part of the “Seats of Awareness” project allows for the viewer to take part in exploring the better side of nature and being able to explore the surrounding natural art we experience in our every day lives that we usually do not notice.

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(1994)