Typical of most artists in the early to mid-sixties, Hamrol created dominating works isolated in a room where, for example, a colorful triangle spread its edges out to the surfaces of the walls and floor. He soon realized that he could transform this visual form of covering a corner to include psychological references. Hamrol was also interested in using materials that combined a sense of immediacy with function. Gradually he worked from interior "situational" environments of balloons, water, and dry ice to cone-shaped structures of adobe, rope, and sandbags. Log Ramps clearly brought to the foreground these concerns as well as a new emphasis on audience participation.
Hamrol, working with his student workshop, first decided that his proposed structure should go in the south fields, but they changed to a more penetrable ground surface near the Environmental Studies building." Soon, local Douglas Fir logs, cantilevered deep in the ground, supported four triangular ramps positioned so that their tops became the tangents to a gap, an empty circular space between them. Hamrol's initial concept was to have the logs covered with sod so that the whole structure appeared to erupt from the earth. While his use of sod would have referenced a natural, cataclysmic event as well as an archetypal shelter such as a cave or sod hut, his change to bare logs allowed for a wider range of references to functional structures such as tipi and log house, fortress, and exterior seating arrangement. Just as nature restores itself, Log Ramps has undergone both re-siting and replacement of rotting logs. Its strength comes from its evocation of the Northwest landscape and from its ceremonial form and function. The wedges provide a path upward toward a seat-- a base for socializing; under these triangular seats or sections there is a space for private meditation.
© Sarah Clark-Langager