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Spanish Ball by Todd McGrain

If you have visited the music library, you have probably seen our large, wooden sculpture near the circulation desk, Spanish Ball.  Here is what the sculptor, Todd McGrain, has to say about its origin and meaning:


The sphere, defined by 15 perfect circumferences, is one of the iconic geometric structures.  I have been compelled to work with beautiful and complex found forms.  Working creatively within a found form is both liberating and confining.  Classical music composers will surely understand this.  Any composer working in a classical form must wrestle to balance tradition and invention.  The modern condition has handed us this responsibility.  We create under a shadow, knowing that in many ways there can be no completely new result.  This challenge was my intended content for Spanish Ball.


To express this creative and engaging burden.  I added a shoulder yoke and cuffs for the neck, wrists and ankles.  There is also a hinge on the double thick steel equator so that the ball can be opened like a clam shell to “put on” the form.  Thus, Spanish Ball is a costume.  Though it was never meant to literally be worn, I did build it to conjure this possibility.  It is both tragic and comic to imagine wearing this contraption.  This is a predicament anyone pursuing creative work will understand.