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Outdoor Sculptures on the UCSB Campus

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This is a contributing entry for Outdoor Sculptures on the UCSB Campus and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
Located just outside of Ellison Hall to the north of the Davidson library, this kinetic sculpture titled Flying Pencil Sculpture by Peter Logan in 1996 is extremely apt for its location on campus. Made out of stainless steel and aluminum, these red and blue pencils are balanced on top of each other to look as though they are weightless and defy physical logic. Interacting with natural elements on campus, the pencils move to create a dynamic and whimsical sculpture. As told from the UCSB Museum accession notes, the pencils: “are a symbol of harmony between nature and technology, and a whimsical reference to the ongoing academic and creative work on campus.”

Grass, Land lot, Landmark, Real estate

Nature, Public space, Land lot, City

Sky, Building, Shade, Tree

This kinetic sculpture is certainly not the first for artist Peter Logan, who has created other kinetic sculptures similar in shape to this one, utilizing a narrow and skinny cylindrical model similar to the appearance of sticks. Logan grew up in the United Kingdom and received his art education there, creating his first kinetic sculptures in 1968. His first creations used electricity to be controlled and had precise and determined movement, whereas his later pieces worked with wind to create more organic and free-form performances.

Similar forms to the ones used in Flying Pencils are used in his body of work during the 1990’s, creating tall, slender and unobtrusive sculptures usually in a silver color. His works tend to draw attention to and highlight the beauty of the location by interacting with the natural elements such as wind or sun of the site. In doing so, Logan works within the modern artistic tradition of kinetic sculpture which was first pioneered in the 1920’s. This tradition is rooted in experimenting with mathematics and aesthetics in order to move past the static limitations of sculpture, pushing the boundaries of tradition and into further abstract representation.

As a whole, Logan’s pieces balance engineering and art to create kinetic sculptures that interact with the environment around them, and in this case, the UCSB campus.

Norrington, Bill . Flying Pencil Sculpture, UCSB Geography. Accessed November 29th 2020.

Peter Logan Biography, Accessed November 29th 2020.

Dewart, Niki. Sculpture and Visual Arts Guidebook, January 1st 2005