Rockin’ Obama

Local sculptor Meagen Svendsen couldn’t get a ticket to Obama’s DNC speech at Invesco Field last August, but that didn’t stop her from going down there. “I still wanted to do something to be there, so I came up with the idea of documenting it, of fossilizing all the people who were able to go,” Svendsen says. “So I took a bunch of bags of clay and rode down there and approached the people in line.” She asked those who snaked through the entry queue to squeeze a little hope into a ball of clay, then collected what she’s since designated “Obama Rocks” for firing later. The response was so great that she continued with the project after that day. “I just wanted to find a way of holding on to Obama’s message,” she explains.

Some 800 Obama Rocks later, Svendsen gathered them all in the kiln and fired it up on election day, for better or for worse. “I checked my kiln all day, as if it would give me a sign,” she says. “It was kind of like waiting in the maternity ward.” The finished nuggets will be displayed in jubilance as part of an installation titled Obama Rocks: Hope Cast in Clay, which opens tonight at NEXT Gallery, 3659 Navajo Street, with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m.

And if Obama had lost? “I looked at the opening as either a christening or a way for everyone to get together and come to terms with losing,” notes Svendsen, who admits she had some additional works in the wings, including one depicting a hand reaching down a toilet with an American flag. “But I won’t have to use it now,” she adds cheerfully.

Obama Rocks remains on view through November 30; for details, go to meagensvendsen.com or call NEXT at 303-564-3610.
Nov. 14-30, 2008

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