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Artist Statement

Art serves as a marker of a society’s values. During troubled times art, in whatever form – poetry, dance, painting, sculpture, music - becomes even more precious. Art possesses healing powers. It is a creative, positive action. It transcends borders, boundaries, divisions, divisiveness, politics and war. Art is timeless and enduring in contrast with media-driven moment-by-moment unfolding of events. To move the mind and heart in the direction of beauty, craftsmanship, literature, history and the fundamental values and philosophy that form the basis of our country is one of the goals of “American Dream”. Perhaps now, more than ever, it is important to review these values and remember what America stands for and what we envision for all people.

“American Dream” consists of three separate artworks that comprise the whole. Each carries with it associations triggered by their purely visual character along with the messages they convey in their text. “Quotation”, with its huge words spread across the walls of the space, propounds the key phrase from the Declaration: “We Hold these truths…...” But within that phrase seven words stand forth, each surrounded by a blue/white glow that makes them more like a mirage than something solid and within our grasp. “Truths” asserts itself, for “truths” are sometimes difficult to ascertain, whether concealed by deliberate lies or simply through omission. “All” and “Equal” have particular relevance today as lines are drawn that separate us by religious belief, by color, by country and by language. “Life” and “Liberty” are fundamental rights granted to each individual whatever their station and appear more fragile than ever. With regard to the “pursuit of Happiness” that is, as it was at the time of its drafting, a subject of varied interpretation. For many today it is purely a matter of survival. For others it is often a fleeting illusion. “Happiness” seems like a quaint 1950s concept, hopelessly romantic and defiantly elusive.

“Signature Piece”, is a long glass wall that celebrates the Founding Fathers of our country through a visual exploration of their most personalized expression – their signatures as found at the bottom of the Declaration. In a larger sense this artwork is a testament to the creative impact of the individual in society, should one choose to take a more active role. As their vision guided the evolution of the then new country, so does the glass railing guide the visitor into the Arrivals Hall space. And, as the development of our nation rests on the foundation established by these individuals, so too will those leaning on the inviting surface of the top rail be resting metaphorically on the Founding Fathers.

“Declaration”, the third and perhaps focal point of “American Dream”, is not simply a representation of the original document, though it may be the clearest, most readable version produced since the original. Seen in the context of current events, the sinuous and straight lines separating the glass into thirteen individual pieces make an additional statement about the relationship between unity and division. No matter how divided on various issues we may be, we are still one nation, contained within our borders.

Decades from now, as we have passed through current and future challenges, the Declaration of Independence will remain as a fundamental statement of values that I suspect will always remain a vision rather than an achievement. I imagine that the goals it describes will only become harder to realize. As the earth becomes more crowded, as environmental issues begin to define the nature of our existence, liberty may take a back seat to management; life may become an even greater struggle for many in other lands. Happiness may be something gratefully accepted in small doses, if at all. But through all of this the vision of the Founding Fathers as expressed in the writing of the Declaration will stand as a lighthouse, keeping us on course and reminding us of our purpose as we drift, blown about by the winds of change. That our founders had an unattainable vision is better than one of smaller achievement. And however unattainable it may be, it is a magnificent goal, worthy of whatever efforts are required to realize their words.

Rob Fisher March 28, 2003

To contact artist:
Rob Fisher Sculpture
228 North Allegheny Street
Bellefonte, PA 16823
TEL: (814) 355-1458

"American Dream" artwork copyright Rob Fisher 2003