Gracing the lawn of Dickson Hall, passersby may notice an eye-catching new addition to the landscape. Artist Carol Brown Goldberg has made Montclair State the new home for her scarlet, statuesque sculpture "Secret Totem."
As it stands against the background of the Dickson Hall’s brick exterior, sitting on the rolling green lawn, the fire-engine red figure with a head that resembles a giant electric outlet, is a striking form that shows both movement and playfulness.
"Secret Totem" was created by the artist especially for Montclair State, and its inception was very much in step with Goldberg’s meditative creative process. “Its creation was intuitive, and as I conceptualized the idea of the piece, it then moved fast,” says Goldberg of her work.
Goldberg described the work as intergenerational, where one could see the piece through the eyes of a child, as an alternative way at looking at the human condition and the human form. “I fit things that typically don’t go together, similarly to a child at play who loses sense of size and scale.”
Keeping the work of George Segal in mind, Goldberg conjured his human figures set in white. She described her piece as anthropomorphic, as “an innocent guy with his hands on his hips, his face wearing an expression of wonderment.”
The piece is also unique as it is distinctive. Set in bronze, the figure then painted vermillion, Goldberg created the mold and had it destroyed after its production. It now exists only on the university campus as a vibrant, one-of-a-kind original piece.
“The sculpture coming to campus has been three-years in the making and we are enthusiastic for its arrival,” explained Teresa Rodriguez, the director of the George Segal Gallery, at the sculpture’s outdoor installation. In September through December of 2011, the Segal Gallery exhibited Goldberg’s paintings and the project had been underway ever since.
“The sculpture is so wonderfully integrated into the landscape. The location is sensational, and the campus is like nothing else. It’s been a wonderful association,” says Goldberg of her work with Montclair State.
The artwork is a gift from the artist and is a collaboration between the George Segal Gallery, the College of the Arts, the Office of the President, and the Montclair State University Foundation. A dedication has been planned for fall 2015 with a visit from Goldberg to fully inaugurate and celebrate the greatly welcomed and much anticipated sculpture to the distinguished Montclair State campus.