From Ground to Ask the Sky - Royden Mills

Centennial Park

Royden Mills
From Ground to Ask the Sky, 2002
Painted steel, 213 x 320 x 457 centimetres

The sculpture From Ground to Ask the Sky was previously on display at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. From Ground to Ask The Sky was built in response to a need people in our era have for a place to go and be able to slow down long enough to just contemplate. What they contemplate might be very personal, and intentionally, a sculpture was provided that might allow freedom for contemplation to happen without imposing exactly how that might happen. The sculpture should call people to it, because its form is compelling and therefore implicates a natural sense of curiosity that all people have. When they are drawn closer to the physical existence of the sculpture, they might be compelled to think about entering the sculpture, thereby removing themselves temporarily from the context of their daily routine. They might well ask, What is the meaning of this? What am a supposed to think about? But, they feel free to make up their own minds, to have their own feelings about the space. Viewers should relax and possibly become more aware of the size and very existence of their bodies.

Most people are compelled to look up at the sky through the opening in the top of the sculpture, and most people stand or sit in there with an altered sense of being. They are grounded, almost anchored to a particular spot while standing in this sculpture, but their attention is directed upwards, set free to consider the greatest of naturally beautiful things, the sky above them. They are free to consider their existence and their physical presence, and they might ask themselves, What is their relationship to the sky? They might even ask the sky things as if it were a physically living thing with a personality that is changing and as much in need of consideration as the person in the sculpture.

From Ground to Ask The Sky is a place to slow down and contemplate our sense of our physical existence in relationship to the ground we walk on and the size of the sky we walk under.

About Royden Mills

Royden Mills was born in Canada on March 19, 1963. As a youngster, he spent an extended amount of time in the hospital. In very uncertain times, he learned that there was a sense of control to be gained from creating. While all else seemed uncertain, there were certain freedoms in the act of drawing.

Mills became dedicated to a career in architecture, which took him to a diploma in Architecture and a short freelance career. His studies were funded by working with mentally handicapped people who continually reminded him that the human spirit is such a beautiful thing. At this time, he followed his heart's desire and returned to art school. In school, he supplemented his visual studies with reading Buddhism and Taoism and Eastern Philosophy. As a graduate student, it was an extended assistantship with the English Sculptor Anthony Caro that helped to really open his eyes.

In the early 90s, his wife wished to move to Japan for a chance to experience something different. Mills saw this as a possibility to learn more about "things" and was able to work in a studio on his own and create sculpture for a solo exhibition there in 1993. When they returned home, Canada and life in the world seemed much different. Mills realized that he could never make sculpture the same way and could never teach as he had before either. Many of Mills’ previous positions, like President of the Edmonton Contemporary Artists Society and serving on the Board of Directors for the Edmonton Art Gallery, have helped him appreciate the relationships and work involved in bringing art to an audience.

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