Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 12

Curious GEORGIA

By Kathy Witt

COURTESY CLARK ASHTON

Decatur sculpture garden
incorporates passersby on busy road
" Like the Grand Canyon, until you
are standing in front of it you can't really
fully appreciate it, " Ashton says.
And when you are in front of it,
whether by foot or by car, chances are
Ashton will be sitting in his massive
throne, surveying his kingdom. His
home and studio also are located on
the property, which he formally named
Druid Hill in 2014.
" The 'kingdom' part
references the entire
Clark Ashton says The
body of work, several
Mechanical Riverfront
lifetimes (36 years) of
Kingdom on Druid Hill in
curiosity and reflection,
Decatur is a statement about
a quest for meaning and
capitalism that envisions
purpose that resulted
commuters as raw materials.
in a whole lot of big
artwork with heavy
statements on one-half
rivers along a certain stretch of North Druid
acre of sloping land, "
Hills Road in Decatur may think they're simply
Ashton says.
commuting to work. But as they glance at the
The installations
massive iron and steel sculptures at the site known as The
include Infrastructure
Mechanical Riverfront Kingdom on Druid Hill (originally
of an Uncertain Future,
called The Commuter Gallery), they take on another role:
Best Laid Plans, The
part of the artwork.
Ascension Machine
Sculptor, painter, musician and filmmaker John Clark
and The Bateman 5000,
Ashton Cornelius Farmer is the visionary behind this everdescribed as " a Baptist
Best Laid Plans is part of The Mechanical
Riverfront Kingdom on Druid Hill, an
expanding sculptural environment, which began in 1984.
church merges with
expansive art installation by Clark Ashton.
The Mechanical Riverfront Kingdom comprises some 250
an intercontinental
pieces, including the looming 35-foot-tall Superstructure, the
ballistic missile, hosted
Control Tower, Skystitcher, Skyscratcher and " metal men. " The
by ['Dracula' actor] Bela
" mechanical river " in the name refers to the endless flow of commuters in
Lugosi. " Each has a purpose, message and mission. 
their cars along this thoroughfare as well as the road itself, aka the riverbed.
" My work has always been about the human
" Most important for my purposes is the cargo in transit, " says the artist, experience: God, money, power, mortality and the
who is familiarly known as Clark Ashton. " Psyches (human essence) are
passage of time, " Ashton says. " Druid Hill is 'a hill for
transported, stowed in the minds of the commuters (raw materials), like sap the people.' When I am dead and all my work is gone,
(psyche) within logs (people) on a train (cars) on a rail (the road) bound for
the hill will remain. It is the most enduring statement
a turpentine factory (commoditized souls).
I could make. "
" I represent an abstraction of their existence but demonstrate an
The sculpture garden is open year-round during
alternative lifestyle, working from home on ethereal products of no
daylight hours. Admission is free; donations are
commercial value. "
accepted.
A video on Ashton's website describes his artwork and the philosophy
Kathy Witt is a freelance writer from Kentucky.
behind it as " a sculptural complex to manufacture psychic unity using
commuters (that's you, viewer) as raw materials. " It is an exploration of
When you go
capitalism and its effects, a cautionary tale that needs to be seen in person
The Mechanical Riverfront Kingdom on Druid Hill,
to experience the setting and scope.
3162 N. Druid Hills Road, Decatur. clarkashton.org.

12

Georgia Magazine

COURTESY CLARK ASHTON

D

April 2021

12_Curious_GA_0421_converted.indd 12

3/10/21 9:35 PM


http://www.clarkashton.org

Georgia Magazine - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - April 2021

Contents
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 8
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 9
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 10
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 11
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 12
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 13
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 14
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 15
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 16
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 17
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 18
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 19
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 20
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 21
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 22
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 23
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 24
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 25
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 26
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 27
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 28
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 29
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 30
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 31
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Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 33
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Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 35
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 36
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 37
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - 38
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - April 2021 - Cover4
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