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Contact: Katie Lawhon, 717-338-4402Sculptor and illustrator Joseph Paxton will begin a month-long residency at Gettysburg National Military Park on August 18. A native of Wales, Paxton has exhibited his works, many of them animal sculptures, all over the world and he’s been featured in Vantage Magazine, Unfolded Magazine, the Resident Magazine, and the Newcastle Metro.
Paxton will showcase his work and reflect on his Gettysburg residency during Gettysburg’s First Friday at the David Wills House, on Lincoln Square in downtown Gettysburg, on September 1, from 5 to 8 pm. During this free, artist showcase, the exhibits at David Wills House will be open free to the public.
“Gettysburg National Military Park has offered inspiration to artists for more than 150 years,” said Bill Justice, acting superintendent at Gettysburg National Military Park. “The Artist-in-Residence program continues the tradition begun by artists like Alexander Gardner, Alfred Waud, and Gutzon Borglum, while simultaneously engaging our visitors and telling this story in new and compelling ways."
Paxton’s sculptures – often of animals – examine the concept of the “human animal,” the human as a primal, sentient being that both affects and is affected by its environment. His work explores how the human exists as only one part of the natural world, and how human instinct and needs both resemble and diverge from those of their low animals. He is particularly interested in the capacity humans have to destroy themselves and the world upon which they depend.
The American Civil War was fought metal on metal, and Paxton intends to make conscious use of that fact in his sculpture, building welded-steel armatures, and ultimately casting his most successful pieces in bronze or iron. During his Gettysburg residency, his work in sculpture and drawing will use his surroundings to reflect upon “the brutality and menace of the destruction of war and human conflict,” as well as “the idea of unity, reconciliation, and freedom” after times of immense wartime destruction.
“I grew up on a farm in rural Wales. I have always been a keen sportsman and a physical person,” said Paxton. “These things, I think, have given me a great interest in movement and the expression of emotion and intension through the body.”
Gettysburg National Military Park preserves, protects and interprets for this and future generations the resources associated with the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, during the American Civil War, the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and their commemorations. Learn more at www.nps.gov/gett.
The National Parks Arts Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the National Parks of the U.S. by creating dynamic opportunities for artworks that are based in our natural and historic heritage. This project is supported by the Gettysburg Foundation and other generous benefactors. All NPAF programs are made possible through the philanthropic support of donors ranging from corporate sponsors and small businesses, to art patrons and citizens- lovers of the parks. For more information go to www.nationalparksartsfoundation.org.
For more information about Paxton’s First Friday presentation call 717-334-1124.