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Robert Mullins’ sculpture models set to move into Dublin Arts Council gallery

Courtesy of Janet Cooper

The Dublin Arts Council does not usually showcase moving sculptures in its exhibits, but that’s set to change with an interactive gallery of kinetic sculptures by Columbus-based artist Robert Mullins. 

The exhibit, called “Robert Mullins: Kinetic Sculpture,” is set to open Tuesday and run through April 19 and will be the first to feature 13 working miniature versions of Mullins’ aluminum and stainless steel sculptures in a gallery setting.

“The sculptures aren’t static,” Mullins said. “They’re sensitive to wind, so everything in the sculpture moves.”

Some of Mullin’s works are large, outdoor sculptures located around Columbus that cascade, spin and twirl using wind power.

Some examples of Mullins’ kinetic sculptures are “The North Star,” located off I-71 near Polaris Mall and “Moonbirds,” located in front of the Time Warner Cable building near State Route 315.

“The exhibit consists of a lot of the models of the larger scale pieces that I’ve done for outdoor work,” Mullins said. “So the miniature scale models in here will all replicate the same type of kinetic movement that the outdoor pieces do.”

Even though these model sculptures are a fraction of the size of the originals, Mullins said the process of creating them requires an equally demanding skill set.

“They’re pretty involved, actually,” Mullins said. “They’re almost like making jewelry or watchmaking compared to, say, building a truck.”

Mullins said the sculptures in the exhibit will be interactive. 

“Instead of touching the sculptures you’ll be able to push a button and have a fan come on and blow these small pieces around so you can see how they work,” Mullins said.

Mullins, the founder of Wind Kinetics Institute Inc., which “specializes in large, outdoor kinetic wind sculptures for commercial and residential settings,” according to its website, said he has always been fascinated by kinetic sculptures and thinks their aesthetic attracts a wider audience than normal sculptures. 

“I always was intrigued by the kinetic side of things,” Mullins said. “These sculptures have a lot more interest to them when they’re moving and they appeal to a lot more different types of people. There’s just a lot more activity going on with a kinetic sculpture than a static piece, so that’s what got my interest in it.”

David Guion, executive director of the Dublin Arts Council and arts administration lecturer at Ohio State, said the idea for the gallery came up when a former board member introduced him to Mullins’ work.

“They had worked on a project together,” Guion said. “He told me that Robert had done a number of outdoor public art pieces, and I said it’d be great to see them in a smaller form.”

Guion said this style of exhibit is a first for the Dublin Arts Council.

“We haven’t had small-scale moving sculptures before,” Guion said. “I just thought it’d be nice to have some kinetic sculptures in the gallery.”

Meghan Hickey, a first-year in exercise science education, said she thinks the movement of Mullins’ sculptures makes them stand out from static art.

“I think it’s more interesting because it’s moving all the time and not just sitting there,” Hickey said. “It’s not boring. It’s always doing something.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public. It can be viewed 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

A reception is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. on the exhibit’s opening day.

Dublin Arts Council is located at 7125 Riverside Drive in Dublin, Ohio.

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