My Modern Met – 4,000 Pounds of Rocks Fill a Human-Shaped Steel Frame

Florida-based artist Celeste Roberge is fascinated with creating art where there is an intersection of geological time and human time. She identifies the layers of history and memory that exist within everything, from people, to furniture, to natural materials found in the world around us. The artist says she creates sculptures where “the presence of matter and materiality is dominant,” and where combinations of fleeting human existence stand in direct harmony with the steady and enduring powers of nature.

Rising Cairns is a commanding sculpture where Roberge welded a steel grid into a rough likeliness of her own body, but much larger than real life, measuring 58″ x 54″ x 43″. Using raw materials from the surrounding land, Roberge filled the unique steel framework with 4,000 pounds of granite. There is a strong juxtaposition between the organized grid shell and the jumble of all shapes, sizes, and textures of rocks held within. Rocks that have existed for possibly millions of years are contained within the equally enduring steel frame, yet stand as representation of the fleeting and mortal human life. According to one review, “The cairns are, in the aggregate, massive and weighty, and seemingly unchanging, at least within our human time frame. Yet, with irony or humor, they help define a human form.”