Friday, March 26, 2010

On the sculpture trail: “Trisem” rock columns in the Fulton Mall, Fresno, California

Hikers in rocky terrain, especially in remote places and locations where the path of a trail is less obvious, often come across piled-up rocks or—more artistically—columns of stacked rocks, neatly balanced one on top of the other by thoughtful or playful travelers. Those rock piles or towers serve as trail markers telling you that somebody else came through before you. Sometimes a sequence of such artificial rock assemblies show you the path of the trail.
A super version of such a rock marker is towering in the Fulton Mall between Fresno and Merced Street in Downtown Fresno. Of course, this is not a marker with the purpose of providing direction or orientation, just delight. The columns of granite boulders are called “Trisem”, a sculpture donated to the city by Fresno artist T. Newton Russell. In contrast to those hiking-trail rock stacks, which fall and disassemble, these three towers are each hold together by hidden steel rods. The vertically stacked rocks are native San Joaquin Valley river rocks. It is a pleasure to look at them from further away as well as close-up—remember they don't fall.

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