September 21, 2018
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Healing Art

Glass sculpture evokes powers of water, energy, and color
Brook Forrest White Jr. with the installation "Mind, Body, & Soul" — “Body” is orange to purple. Photo by Matthew Gotth Olsen.

Patients at the brand-new Owensboro Health Regional Hospital have been treated to a show this summer in the courtyard outside the cafeteria in the back of the hospital. Since around mid-July, they’ve been able to watch Louisville, Ky., glass artist and Owensboro native Brook Forrest White Jr. assemble his latest — and probably biggest — work of art.

White’s latest installation is privately funded and is entitled “Mind, Body & Soul.” It is three sculptures functioning together as a single work, drawing on “the concepts of water, movement, and color and their role in the human healing process,” according to one of the work’s descriptive plaques. White contracted with a metal artist in Louisville, Bryan Holden, to construct the metal framework of the sculptures, and White’s studio, Flame Run Glass Studio and Gallery in Louisville, began in January to craft the nearly 1,000 separate glass pieces that have now been individually fastened to the metal frames. The piece, which is 17 feet tall and five feet wide, is essentially complete.

Initially, White planned to display something in the man-made pond on the hospital grounds that is visible from the courtyard, but that proved to be impractical. Yet he chose to keep water as the central concept of the piece.

Two of the sculptures resemble waves, their curving frames directing their energy toward the third sculpture in the center, which resembles a plume of water bursting upward. The waves represent the mind and body and are symbolic of energy and emotion, White explains, while the plume of “water” represents the soul. And while the pieces are meant to evoke the idea of water, White did not limit the palette to blues and greens, though many shades of both are present. He included deep purples, delicate lavenders, and fiery reds and oranges.

White is no stranger to creating installation pieces for hospitals — he has installations at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville as well as Deaconess Gateway Hospital in Newburgh, among others (He was featured in the March/April 2006 issue of Evansville Living magazine for his Gateway installation). The Owensboro Health project is especially meaningful for him. His mother and grandmother were both nurses at the former Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital and he grew up (and his mother still resides) virtually a stone’s throw away from the site of the new hospital. He says working in glass has yielded many blessings and this experience in particular has been “humbling.” He adds that a woman posted on the studio’s Facebook page that she had been watching from her father’s hospital room for over a week as the work progressed on the sculpture and that it had made a difficult experience much better. “That single-handedly validated what we were trying to accomplish,” he says.

For more information about Brook Forrest White Jr., visit the Facebook page for Flame Run Glass Studio, flamerun.com, or call the studio at 502-584-5353.

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