Bronze, 4' x 4' x 9', 2009
Designated by the Federal Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission as an officially endorsed historic site, the sculpture serves as the commissioned centerpiece for Lincoln Landing, a park developed by The Give Something Back Foundation and the Will County Historical Society in Lockport, IL. Erected in celebration of the bicentennial of the President’s birth, Lincoln appears as a disheveled young Illinois legislator on his visit through Lockport in three interlocking poses. The work is installed on a reconstitution of the old
I&M Canal wall. The base of the statue captures a seated Lincoln dangling his legs off the edge of the canal wall, reaching a hand into the depths of what was once canal water, though now only earth remains.
Infusing life into the image of Lincoln has been a challenge since the death of the President, as visual reference materials were limited to daguerreotype photographs. They required over a minute of posed stillness to capture a single image – a process which Lincoln reportedly loathed. While these archival portraits provide documentation of the president’s features, they offered nothing in the way of his mercurial moods and complex temperament. It was reported that from moment to moment, his face could undertake the uncanny transform from homely and melancholy to exuberant and even handsome. Sadly, henceforth in popular iconography, the representations on the penny, the $5 bill and elsewhere cemented the legacy of Lincoln as a solemn, stoic man .
These representational limitations intrigued me. So, I tried do what the photograph could not--to physically weave Lincoln's form through the fabric of Lockport and the I&M Canal through motion. To simultaneously explore the multiplicity of his character and the continual reinvention of his historical legacy. By placing emphasis on the space in between the Lincoln forms and between the walls of the dried up canal, I hoped to resurrect the life of a man and of a canal which helped shape the face of this nation.
From paper to bronze
Lincoln Landing Park construction