GENESEO – Artist Steve Prince and over two dozen people he had never met before helped steamroll painted puzzle pieces on paper to represent individual traumas and recoveries, which fit together as one community in one art piece.
Prince, a professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, says that his piece, ‘Ripple,’ is designed in the spirit of ‘gestalt,’ or ‘a whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.’
“Loss and recovery is part of our lives,” said Pierce. “We have to collectively embrace those things. We’re not going to agree or see eye to eye. But we can have mutual respect. No two puzzle pieces are the same but they depend on the others to make the whole.”
Prince’s role in the project was to design the central image and act as a coordinator and guide for dozens of other people.
“At the center of the piece is a family,” said Pierce. “The little girl holding the teddy bear represents the bear fountain. Think of the destruction and recovery of the fountain. I accentuated the size of the hands to accentuate the tenderness of that family. The new moon speaks of the dawn of a new day and the star represents dreams. The red, white and blue represents America, the red further represents blood, and black is the presence of all colors.”
But there his role ended. SUNY Geneseo students, community members and kids cut out and designed their own ‘puzzle pieces’ depicting a trauma that they had suffered and recovered from. On Center Street in Geneseo Friday, about two dozen college and village residents gathered to assemble the pieces, lay wet paper over them, and watch them get pressed by a steamroller into the final art piece.
“Beauty is amplified by the collective,” said Prince. “If this were my class, I’d say that this central image is lines and circles and shapes, which only together forms the whole.”
Where the piece will finally hang is uncertain, but it will most likely go on the wall of Mary Jemison, a campus dining hall.