- Associated Press - Sunday, September 27, 2015

NEW HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - With its glowing, suspended pieces of bamboo, ball ornaments and artificial poinsettia leaves, local artist Robin Protz’s “Seasons” is a celebration of life itself.

After 10 months and thousands of hours, the 144-square-foot, “holographic sculpture” may be finished, but Protz said she was merely the laborer for a piece that contains the energy of the universe or - “all that is.”

“I look at it and say I supply the energy,” she said.

Protz is boxing it all up, grid by grid, and bringing the sculpture to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to compete in ArtPrize Seven, an international art competition that runs through Oct. 11. The event includes juried and people’s choice grand prizes worth $200,000 each as well as several other prizes.

Seasons is built on a 12-by-12-foot indoor pergola that stands nearly 8 feet tall. Pieces of cut bamboo, Christmas ball ornaments, artificial poinsettia leaves and “twirley twisters” are suspended with fluorocarbon lines from 18 different 2-by-4 grids. The grids will allow her to box each section separately, carefully using zip ties to keep the lines from tangling during transport. In Grand Rapids, she will then set up the piece at the Amway Grand Prize Hotel.

The bamboo comes from 75 different 6-foot heat-treated and cut strips, and each clump of artificial leaves were heated and reversed to droop over the ornaments.

Protz, who grew up in Avon and New Hartford, spent 25 years in Europe as a rep in the high-end fashion business. After 9/11, she re-evaluated her life, returned home a year later and began pursuing art, first creating linear mobiles, and spending time with her parents, Donald and Jo McCurdy, who still live in town. These days, Protz works from a studio in the Hurley Business Park in New Hartford.

While math figures heavily into her work, she has no formal art or college training, but she looks at it as a blessing.

“I didn’t learn what I should not be able to do,” she said.

After a bout with breast cancer, inspired by witnessing the effects of cancer on a young child, Protz created her first holographic sculpture, “Pegasus,” built on an 8-by-4-foot aluminum frame, which she donated to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Should she be fortunate enough to win the competition, or find financial success, Protz said she’d love to have a platform to build on the idea of the Children’s Medical Center piece, which she can replicate. It’s just one project that has a deeper meaning.

“It would be great to have the platform to remind people of their duty to one another,” she said.

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Information from: The Register Citizen, https://www.registercitizen.com


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