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"Gate House"

Hamrol, Lloyd

Lechmere/East Cambridge, Sculpture


Front Park

Title: Gate House
Date: 1986
Materials: Enamel on steel, granite
Dimensions: Each arch 10' x 13'8" x 1 1/2"
Location: Commercial Avenue at the intersection of Rogers Street


Seeing and experiencing

Lloyd Hamrol's Gatehouse invites your physical participation. The structures function as portals. You can walk through them. The shapes also act as windows. Look through them. They frame different views depending on where you stand. The different elements surround you. At the same time, Gatehouse is itself surrounded -- by large nearby buildings and the Charles River Basin. In short, your experience of Gatehouse is in constant motion.


As you walk around, inside and through the piece, think about how it shapes your perspective on the surrounding environment. How many different views can you experience?


Is there an inside or an outside? Does this piece have a beginning or end?


Do you think the title Gatehouse accurately reflects the piece? Does it look like a house? Does it remind you of a gate? Does it challenge or confirm your conceptions of a house or a gate?


Hamrol's structures suggest absence as much as presence. Do you think the work comments on the changing character of the neighborhood? In Colonial days East Cambridge was a place where people lived. During the 1800s and early 1900s, big factories mixed with the houses. What is it like today? Is there a relationship between Gatehouse and the buildings that surround it?


Walk into the piece and look out toward the river. What do you see? If you are with other people, take turns calling out what you see from your space. Quickly sketch five different views.


What you will need: Paper, cardboard, pencil or charcoal.


In order to truly focus, it is helpful to frame your view. Looking through a small frame cuts down the distractions, allowing you to explore the nuances of the scene in front of you.


Print out the template below and cut out the center section. You have created a frame. If you'd like it to be sturdier, glue your paper frame onto the cardboard and trim out the center and sides.


Looking through your frame, study your room, neighborhood, a photograph... anything. Do you notice more detail? Does the space or image seem different? If you are in a room, look through the doorway. Notice how the door frames what you see outside of it. What other frames can you find in your house?


Use your frame to find ten interesting details. Sketch each detail. Think about filling a whole page. Play with timing. Do the first sketch in two minutes. How much of the page did you fill? Spend five minutes a piece on the next two drawings. Does your work change when you draw more slowly?


Explore positive and negative space. Use a chair as your subject. Draw only the spaces around the chair. What does your drawing look like? The chair itself occupies "positive space." The area around it or between its legs is called "negative space." Hamrol's piece makes us aware of both the positive and negative space in the landscape around us.


In Depth

What you will need: String or cord, newspapers, fabric, other materials (branches, cardboard, bark, etc.), chalk, paint.


How do you make space come alive? Just by drawing a line on a blank piece of paper you have made this flat space come alive. How do artists represent three-dimensional space?


Create a three-dimensional web by connecting objects with string. First try it outside. Weave your string among trees, fences or other standing objects. Inside, connect doorknobs and furniture. Drape newspaper or fabric over the string to create an environment that is partially open and partially closed. Create more complexity by painting, tearing or sewing the newspaper/fabric. Add other kinds of materials. What do you need to make the piece feel private? What do you need to make the piece feel public?


How would you define a space using the chalk? Or rearrange chairs and other objects to create a sculpture. What makes a space?