Harvey Buchanan, Case Western Reserve University art historian and director of the John and Mildred Putnam Sculpture collection was "bowled over" when he saw the sculpture of Ronald Bladen (1918-1988) during an exhibition last year of the artist's work at the Jacobson Howard Gallery in New York City.
Bladen's Light Year is the 45th work in the Putnam Sculpture Collection. It was installed last week in a landscaped setting between the Kelvin Smith Library and Severance Hall. The Putnam Collection is comprised of works by regional artists with close links to Ohio and the neighboring states. A Canadian by birth, Bladen worked and lived in New York since 1956.
Light Year is fabricated in aluminum, painted black. It is 6.6 feet high by 13 feet long and 1.5 feet deep. It is the first in an edition of three.
Considered one of the founders of Minimalism, but a self-proclaimed romantic, the critic Mark Stevens wrote, "Bladen's signature effect is to give massive black forms an air of light, speed and weightlessness. Sharp angles cut through air, unzipping the space."
According to Buchanan, this work joins other notable pieces in the Putnam collection, including three works from Fletcher Benton's Alphabet Series; Keith Haring's Two Dancing Figures; Turning Point and Turning Point Garden by architect Philip Johnson, a native of Cleveland, and the recently completed Mildred Putnam Sculpture Garden by Cleveland architect Richard Fleishman, located behind the student resident halls on East. 118th Street.
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