Edwin White sculpture honors Ruffin Hobbs at CCCC-Chatham
PITTSBORO - April 13 marked the dedication of a new sculpture at Central Carolina Community College's Chatham County Campus. Titled "No Time to Waste," the sculpture is dedicated to the memory of North Carolina artist Ruffin Mendenhall Hobbs, who passed away in 2008.
The sculptor, Edwin White, of Silk Hope, is known for his sweeping steel structures. He said he thought Hobbs would be pleased with the work.
"I think it is a very fitting piece for Ruffin," said. "It is made from one piece of steel, an economy of material of which he and I shared a love."
His colleagues and friends described Hobbs, who had resided in Alamance County, as a kind of Renaissance man, someone who could talk to people about anything from gristmills and stone cutting to sculpture.
"He just manifested ideas," said his sister Louise Hobbs, an art teacher at Pittsboro Elementary School and director of the memorial to her brother. "His work referenced many, many themes, including mythic subjects, science and animals. He was a fellow artist, brother and a loved friend, and he continues to inspire this community and our family."
Hobbs' work is displayed throughout the country, including at Princeton University and UNC-Chapel Hill. A copper mural sculpture he designed and built while he was a student at Guilford College, "Reflective Wanderers," graces the facade of Bryan Hall on that campus.
The White sculpture, which stands just below the Chatham Community Library in the center of the Chatham County Campus, measures 94" tall, 34" wide and 30" at the base. It was funded through the CCCC Foundation's Chatham County Fund and the Chatham Artists Guild. It represents the beginning of an arts program that Louise Hobbs and her colleagues would like to bring to fruition at the college.
"We want to continue fundraising and have more sculptures on the campus," said Hobbs. "We're talking about initiating a biennial sculpture competition in which students and other artists can participate, and creating a visiting artist program at the Siler City Center."
CCCC currently offers an Associate in Fine Arts degree at the Siler City Center. The program includes classes in a variety of disciplines, such as drawing, sculpting, printmaking and ceramics. The AFA is a two-year degree that prepares students to transition into the arts program at a four-year institution at the junior level. CCCC instructors in the AFA program are artists themselves who bring both practical and academic understanding to their fields.
White began his career as an artist in Staunton, Va., where he painted and worked in silkscreen printing. He opened Edwin White Studios, an art gallery and print shop, in an old restored flourmill. He has participated in art and craft shows throughout the southeast in a variety of media including watercolors, pen and ink, glass etchings and silkscreen prints. He now resides in Silk Hope, where he spends much of his time working on commissions and preparing for each year's Chatham County Open Studio Tour in early December.
"My most interesting and engaging sculptures are developed through problem solving," White said "For me, the art making process focuses on revision and change. Therefore, my sculpture speaks to the exploration of shape and form and the discoveries that lie within that exploration. An ongoing interest in the technical aspects of art and design heavily influence my work. Some of my pieces are organic in shape but many are geometric. I am most often drawn to opposing shapes and double images; the juxtaposition of line and form."
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