cace

Jean Liberty will be guest artist of the month at the Wednesday, Sept. 5, meeting of Cumberland Artisans for Creative Expression (CACE). The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. at Crossville City Hall. Jean's subject will be the creative process and how anyone can develop and apply it to any art form. Guests are welcome to the monthly meetings of CACE.

After 35 years as an engineer and project manager, Jean has discovered an artistic passion to create abstract sculpture. Jean's first career involved design and development of mechanical systems such as the back pack used by the astronauts on the moon, cryogenic refrigerators, water purification plants and gas systems for computer chip factories. He managed projects in the U.S., Europe and Asia and was awarded a patent for a linear gas compressor. When he moved to Fairfield Glade in 2001 he planned to spend his retirement years traveling, working in public service and riding his bicycle.

On a trip to Los Angeles last year he visited the UCLA sculpture garden and was fascinated by the beauty of abstract sculpture. It reminded him of his attraction to Alexander Calder's mobiles. Recalling that Calder was also an engineer, he realized that his knowledge and experience in applying mathematics, statics, dynamics and metallurgy to engineering design could be just as valuable in creating sculpture. He purchased a sketch book and in a short period had produced several abstract sculpture designs. Returning from California, he agreed to produce 12 sculptures for the CACE Art Expo. The public response was so encouraging he decided to make sculpture his new career.

One of the things that interested him about the Cumberland Plateau was the beauty of Tennessee quartzite (Crab Orchard stone). The colors and patterns in the stone are remarkable and it begs to be used for something other than building material. It is the focal point of his sculpture. Experimenting with aluminum and copper, he found that the reflective metal surfaces added depth and light and softened the strong natural beauty of the stone.

Jean specializes in creating unique commissioned sculptures that incorporate the owner's personality and the light and dynamics of the space the sculpture will occupy. His designs range from table-top pieces to larger atrium, garden and outdoor public sculptures.

Abstract art is difficult for many people to appreciate and Jean is surprised by the positive response to his sculpture. "I get pleasure from creating art and bringing pleasure to others makes the work much more rewarding," he says.

His work can be seen at various regional art shows. He is currently represented by the Artisan Gallery on Kingston Pike in Knoxville and the UCAA Gallery in the Penney's shopping center in Cookeville. Jean Liberty's work will be shown at the CACE Art Expo at the Cumberland County Complex on Sept. 22.

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