“Comma” by Lee Badger

“Comma” by Lee Badger, beside the Rhode Island Trolley Trail, 6100 block of Rhode Island Avenue, Riverdale Park, MD 20737

Artist Statement

“Comma” is an abstract kinetic sculpture presenting a broad disk-like spiral that rotates on a cylindrical base. It is meant to be touched and turned, allowing viewers to interact with curving shapes and shadows. It moves slowly and quietly with gentle pressure. “Comma” was created almost 20 years ago and it has been on outdoor public exhibition ever since.

“Comma” engages distant passers-by as well as up-close viewers because it is rich with familiar associations. The spiral form evokes both rotary motion and spiral progression. Spheres on the spiral tips suggest planets in orbit or heavenly bodies in the swirling universe. Some viewers are immediately struck by the sculpture’s celestial suggestions, misunderstanding its name to be “Comet.” Other viewers find aquatic or nautical allusions and see the spiral disk as a rolling wave or a rotating sail.

Aquatic or celestial, “Comma’”s materials keep it grounded in earthly reality. The spiral disk is rusted steel and the stained stucco base suggests an old stanchion or wharf mooring, recalling obsolete machinery and the decay of the Industrial Age. In contrast, bright and gleaming spiral edges and tips represent cycles of renewal through forward rolling motion. Sculptors, art critics and connoisseurs will also appreciate “Comma” as a study of curvature in line, plane, shape, volume and dynamic space.