Landon Crowell sculptures give old objects new life

By Allyson Oakley

Inside the humanities building at Volunteer State Community College, the exhibition “Canyons of the Broken and Departed” by Ohio sculptor Landon Crowell is on display until March 28.

Crowell states, “The materials have a previous life, ranging from shelving, stud walls and even art shipping crates. This gives the elements of each piece a memory, a previous life.”

Most materials were pulled from demo projects and construction sites.

Landon Crowell sculpture "shimmed." Photo by Allyson Oakley

Landon Crowell sculpture “shimmed.” Photo by Allyson Oakley

The design, “You Shimmed us up to remain true. Without you level has become very elusive” is hard to miss with its immense size.
Each item has some geographical inspiration.

When asked if he drew his inspiration from travel, Crowell added, “I have always been drawn to the visual language of cartography and maps. Being able to use simple instruments to translate the 3D world we walk around in, into little squiggles and symbols to describe something like that is so vast and sometimes un-comprehensible. And if you are able to read a map, like you can read words on a page. You get almost the same effect as reading a story.”

Crowell’s interest in maps started in childhood. Maps from the National Geographic decorated his walls. He would study the maps and pictured himself there.

In high school Crowell worked as a mountain guide in Yosemite National Park at a time when maps were the only way to not get lost.

Over the past 8 years Crowell has built his collection. Some components date back as far as 1996.