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Bronze bucks’ eyes gaze at Columbus scenery on banks of Scioto

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An artist uses a sketchbook as the blueprint for their creations. Some of these images are possible to make into more extraordinary works of art, but some can be seemingly impossible. This is the inspiration behind “Possible Impossible,” an exhibit at the Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus.

Artist and singer Terry Allen is set to display the sketches of his public works that have been commissioned, said Kelly McNicholas, a spokeswoman for the Urban Arts Space. His publicly commissioned works are bronze sculptures, but some of the sketches never became anything more than an idea, so his drawings were taken from his notebooks and framed for the exhibit. 

Allen said when he is done sketching, he likes to look at a sketch and decide whether it was just a ridiculous idea, or if it can be turned into a piece of art.

“Sometimes you can’t get to the impossible until you go through the impossible of the ideas,” Allen said. 

Merijntje van der Heijden, the deputy director for exhibitions and curatorial practice, organized the sketches on display at the Urban Arts Space.

“I felt that as you walked through this space, you needed to be able to observe each of the drawings individually,” van der Heijden said, “but as you walk through, also begin to recognize connections with other pieces.”

The exhibition includes two works that ultimately were realized: two sculptures of anatomically-correct deer posing as humans, McNicholas said. 

Allen was commissioned by the city of Columbus to create public sculptures on the banks of the Scioto River after a proposal he made. Scioto is an Native American word derived from the Wyandot name for “deer.”

“When I was walking around the river, people were lying down and sitting on benches,” Allen said. While watching the scene, he thought “what if that guy lying in the grass was a deer?”

There are two deer sculptures located behind COSI along the Scioto. One is sitting upright at the top of the steps that leads to the water, and the doe is lying on her back just a few feet away.

Allen said he does not have an agenda for spectators to follow when they see his work. He said he thinks people will bring their own ideas and interpret the meaning of what he has created. 

The combination of works that Allen has and has not created makes for an insightful experience, van der Heijden said. 

“We have the opportunity to be able to show the study drawing in conjunction with the actualized piece,” she said. “This provides a whole different layer of insight and appreciation perhaps.” 

The completed drawings also include photographs of his completed works, including “Golden Time,” which is a bronze sculpture of a man kneeling on one knee and trying to balance an oversized clock, located at Sony Pictures Entertainment in Culver City, Ca. 

Allen said he has created more than 20 sculptures since 1983. His sculptures appear all over the country, including in Texas and Colorado. 

Allen has proposed to the city to install a third deer that will stand on the bridge along the Scioto Mile.

The Urban Arts Space is located at 50 W. Town St. and “Possible Impossible” will be on display until Nov. 8 and admission is free.

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