Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust presents contemplative art

‘Three States of Being,’ the latest from donated RCBC collection.

On Jan. 6, Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust celebrated its installation of the 20th piece of art in the borough. “Three States of Being,” donated by Rowan College at Burlington County, and created by Carl Billingsley, was placed outside Grace Episcopal Church. Pictured from left: HOST President Joseph Sikora, RCBC President Michael Cioce, Mayor Neal Rochford, HOST Chairman Stuart Harting and Grace Church Rector Jenni Ovenstone Smith.

Continuing its mission to provide Haddonfield with art that tends to amaze, stimulate and  provoke thought, Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust (HOST) unveiled its 20th art installation on the afternoon of Jan. 6. 

During the Feast of the Epiphany, principals from HOST — along with Mayor Neal Rochford and President of Rowan College at Burlington County Michael A. Cioce — unveiled “Three States of Being” on the front lawn of Grace Episcopal Church.

The work is the brainchild of Oklahoma-born and self-described “Army brat” Carl Billingsley, and is comprised of three, 8-foot tall monolithic, triangular structures. It is the latest in a quintet of works donated to the trust at the end of 2019 by RCBC. 

“This would be the second placement out of that group of five and first of the calendar year,” HOST Chairman Stewart Harting noted. “It is (a philosophical work) and that’s why it came here as a trinity. There are multiple perspectives here. They are different. This is the sculptor’s idea of three distinct states of being.

“We have some very exciting pieces coming in during the first half of this year,” he added. “Important pieces, and we’re looking forward very much to it.”

HOST Vice Chair Michael Willmann noted that it isn’t difficult to view the new installation as something theologically based — depending on where one stands within a religion — but that’s not the whole picture.

“It has some possible interpretive value in that regard. I think every piece we place has a different reaction from people,” he said. “Many generate a lot of empathetic fondness, and some (people ask) ‘Why do we have that?’

“Bottom line is, Neal (Mayor Rochford) hit it on the head: Great cities and small boroughs do their citizens a service when they expose them to varied pieces of art.”

Though Billingsley was not in attendance, a release announcing the installation revealed that each individual element of the piece is intended to invoke the past, present, and future of a lifespan. Small perforations made within the upper portion of each piece are intended to offer onlookers different perspectives in light and shadow. 

“To me, it suggests growing into a fullness of one’s whole person,” said Rev. Jenni Ovenstone Smith, rector of Grace Episcopal Church. “That’s why I think, today, the Epiphany — a season of discovery — is so perfect. And that in becoming the fullness of who we are, we will have lived. And in discovering that across a lifetime, we will have known something more about who we’ve always been.”

“It sounds a bit cyclical, but it speaks to growth, to always looking toward what we can become, so that we can become the fullness of who we are.”

Harting speculated the next installation from the RCBC collection may occur as soon as Sculpture Month in April. During that time, he said, HOST plans to continue building up the Children’s Sculpture Zoo, and wants to add another “gateway piece” like the “Ballerina” sculpture within the Ellis Street circle. 

For more information on HOST, visit: https://haddonfieldsculpture.org/. For additional background on Billingsley, visit: http://billingsleyatelier.com/.