Lycia Danielle Trouton | Sculptor

Site-specific sculpture

1991 - 1999


28 X 22 X 2 ft compressed peat moss, Location: empty Greek Theatre reflecting pool, Cranbrook Educational community grounds, 1991 


I built this sculpture using compressed Canadian spagnum peat moss as a substitute for Irish turf which was used extensively as a fuel to heat the cottages of rural, historical Ireland. I like peat or turf's alchemical and transformative connotations and the reference to bogs which can act as preservation tanks. 
The labyrinth is symbolic of the journey of the soul... 

Hogfuel Horns or Bull's Horn Hogfuel-

15ft X 12ft X 3ft 1992, University of British Columbia, Malcolm Knapp Research Forest

Cedar bark mulch or 'hogfuel' - a waste product from the lumber industry This U-shaped symbol is a sign of regeneration, and is a reference to the temple of Minos, Crete. The sculpture was sited in a research forest and is oriented to dialogue with the piles of 'slash and burn' and the fertile Fraser Valley of Vancouver's lower mainland, below.

Serpentine Knowledge

360ft (length) X 4 ft (width) Planted Penawawa Spring Wheat, 1993 Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington

Wheat was planted in a serpentine formation on the college green, outside of the gallery, where I created an indoor sculpture (a walk-in architectural space, made out of 300 bales of wheat straw). The ground was rototiller-ed in June and the seeds planted for full harvest the following September. (golden yellow image - as seen from above).

The Dragon's Tail

Exhibition: TimeFrames, Albright College, PA, 1997.
Title of Artwork: The Dragon's Tail
Size: imperial - 126 ft (length) X 11ft (height) tapering to 3ft (height) X 4ft to 2ft (in width) / metric - 38.4m (length) X 3.4m (height) tapering to 0.9m (height) X 1.2m to 0.6m (in width)
Location: Penn State University, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA,
Explanation: This is a rammed earth artwork that I created when I was 28 years old.

It was created on the sloped embankment of a new freeway, at the edge of a college campus. It is a land art sculpture created in the tradition of art-outside-the-white-cube (see Brian O'Doherty, Artforum, 1976), late 1960s United States large-scale Earthworks. I was trained in sculpture from this era by my postgraduate advisor, Michael Hall and his colleagues Dennis Oppenheim and Oppenheim's former wife, Alice Aycock as well as Richard Nonas All of these land artists worked with sculptor Michael Hall, who coordinated the outdoor land art exhibition on site at Cranbrook Academy of Art in the 1970s - 1990s.

The difference in that previous tradition to my 1990s artwork was that mine was made 'by hand' (perhaps making it an early form of post-millennium 'craftivism'). This land art piece was constructed by making walls which were made from a slurry of earth, then compressed in 'formwork' (which was then removed - creating a type of mould over several hundred "man" hours and after moving several hundred tons of earth).

I wanted the artwork to represent the changes brought to the college campus by a newly constructed freeway and sound barrier wall adjacent to the campus. The "tail" symbolizes the change/chaos of a dragon's energy…traveling down the slope and acting as a continuation and yet, diversion, of the original concrete sound barrier. Also, I liked the juxtaposition of the hard concrete sound barrier against my creation, the 'soft' earthwork sculpture, a fibrous material sometimes called pise de terre (an alternative form of architecture).

The sculpture was in place for two years, during which time it gradually disintegrated back into the earth. I wanted the piece to reflect or mirror the historic arboretum, situated directly opposite, on another rise, on the other side of the campus.

The Dragon's Tail

Schematic and Isometric Drawing

The Concrete Formwork company, Vimco, donated the use of the rammed earth mould.

Thanks for the invitation to the exhibition and the hospitality Will and Carla Trinkley, glass artists and co-curators of the Land Art show in PA.


Terra Flux - collaboration with David Scott-Risner 

8 X 8 X 8 ft cube 1998, Horsehead International Sculpture Exhibition
Location: Empty toxic waste storage facility, at abandoned Sandpoint Naval base, Seattle, Washington 

This cube was made with compressed soil, the interior of which is a hollow column (built from marine-grade plywood) filled with water which was released into the soil cube through a series of weep holes and sprayers. Seeds imbedded in the soil, both wild and inserted, grew over a four month period, thus, changing the earth cube as an intended part of the sculpture. The entire concrete basin was 'washed' with a spray from the PVC piping along its length - set to a timer, every hour. A pump funneled the water into the column itself. The sound of the water, the birds and insects which gathered, including a host of dragonfly larvae, all became a part of this living sculpture.

Waters of Life 

1999 for Horsehead International Sculpture Exhibition with British Columbia Arts Council Funding

Location: The existing concrete steps/slopes between two water reservoirs for the City of Belfast. The Waterworks 'park', off Antrim Rd. North Belfast, N. Ireland 

Click on image above for Artist Statement

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