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Colored ‘marbles’ on display off Ridgefield Road

Artist Christopher Curnan’s ‘marbles’ are lined up in a row in the meadow at Keeler Ridge. (Bryan Haeffele photo)

Earlier this week there were six large colored balls all in a row at Keeler Ridge. According to Christopher Curnan, the artist who placed them there, their position is related to something happening i n the news, but he is not saying exactly what.

“There’s a reason they’re placed in their formation. That’s the secret people have to figure out,” he said. “It’s all about what the viewer represents it to be. Everyone has a different opinion of why they are where they are.”

The balls, which Mr. Curnan calls marbles, have been in the meadow at Keeler Ridge, owned by the Wilton Land Trust.

They are made of fiberglass; three are five feet around, one is six feet around and “a little guy” is three feet, he said.

(Bryan Haeffele photo)

Mr. Curnan, who lives in Ridgefield, is a painter, sculptor and photographer who works with found objects.

The marbles “are old oil tanks that come out of the ground. They were made in the 70s and failed at one point, leaking into the ground,” he said. Mr. Curnan got the tanks from Montanari Tank Removal in Ridgefield.

“I cleaned them up and did some work to them and painted them,” he said.

Before bringing them to Wilton, Mr. Curnan had them on private property in Redding, where, he said, they got “a great response.”

“A round circle is very approachable,” he said. “People are attracted to round spheres. It’s so funny the remarks I get.”

He’s had people surmise a marble must be “happy” because it is in front of the woods on a rainy day. Other times people have said a marble seems “sad.” People have stopped him in the market to talk about them, he said.

The marbles proved “friendly” and popular enough for him to take them to private homes for events and a few other places in the area.

When he approached the land trust board, members agreed to let him place the marbles in the meadow, where he rearranges them every few days.

The marbles were originally installed in the meadow in early December, but were mostly removed after the school shooting in Newtown. It was felt, by Mr. Curnan and the land trust, that the exhibition was “too whimsical,” considering the events that had taken place so nearby, according to land trust president Bruce Beebe.

A week or so ago the marbles returned, and they will be around for another few weeks.

They have been enjoyed by many, including student artists at Wilton High School and their teachers.

Rusty Hurd, head of the high school art department, lives across the street from the meadow and at one point had one of the marbles in her driveway after meeting Mr. Curnan.

“It’s fun,” she said. “I think it’s been a terrific show. It’s an installation but it’s an art happening, too. Every day or couple of days he moves things around.”

Ms. Hurd gave her sculpture class an assignment in which they had to see the exhibition and figure out what Mr. Curnan was trying to do as well as find out information about him.

“It’s not often you have something spontaneous,” she said. “It’s very well-received by the community. I have people park in the driveway … it’s lovely to see.”

Sue Brandt, an art teacher at Wilton High School, was able to serendipitously incorporate an “installation project” assignment she had given her two Ceramic I classes this fall.

“I shared with my students the work of other installation artists, including Christo, and we discussed how to create an installation,” she told The Bulletin.

For their installation, the classes decided to make globes by wrapping clay around balloons. Each student came up with his or her own design for the glaze on their globes. There were a total of 36 globes.

“Once the globes were completed, the classes created their installations in different areas of the school,” Ms. Brandt said. “Some of the areas where we set up installations included an open courtyard on the top of the school, the greenhouse, the principal’s office, the field house, and the stairwells in the school.”

Ms. Brandt took photos of the installations that were set up in a display case at the school entrance.

Then, in December, Ms. Brandt and her students saw Mr. Curnan’s installation and commented on the similarity to their work.

Last week she “went up to the field on Ridgefield Road and created four installations with my students’ globes, placing them around the marbles in the field,” she said.

Mr. Curnan, who is represented by Dara Quinn at Galleria d’Arte, which is in the G&B Cultural Center in Georgetown, has been working seriously as an artist for the last four years or so, but his entire career has been rooted in pursuit of an artistic vision. A graduate of the Paier College of Art and Design in New Haven, he has worked for 20 years in construction management, building, and spatial design.

In an “artist’s statement,” he explains his work “with organic, environmental, or mechanical materials as a continuously evolving process of ‘seeing beyond the object.’”

As for the marbles at Keeler Ridge, Mr. Curnan said he will keep them up “until the story is complete.”

Information about Mr. Curnan is available on his website, christophercurnan.com and at galleriadarte.us.

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