Cyclic Synergy is the maquette created for presentation to the Oklahoma Art in Public Places Committee for the Institute for Agricultural Biosciences Facility in Ardmore, Oklahoma. It is on permanent loan to the Oklahoma Judicial Center. The Institute operates as a division of Oklahoma State University and is a research facility focused on crop improvement through molecular biology, genetics, plant breeding and crop management. The goal of the University is to help farmers by developing new or improved crops and crop production systems.
The Institute is the latest chapter in Oklahoma’s history of agricultural experimentation which artist Marsh Scott has depicted in the six stainless steel panels of Cyclic Synergy. The six pierced disks are joined on the center edge and represent the Sun, Seasons, Settlers, Study, Science and Synthesis.
Scott approached the piece from a chronological standpoint, beginning with the sun as the center of our solar system. This energy source is an absolute requirement for life on earth. Ancient civilizations, including the Meso-Americans recognized their dependence on the sun and developed solar religions. Solstices and equinoxes mark the change of seasons, important dates for growing food. For eons, observation of the seasons and how they affected flora and fauna comprised the early science of agriculture. Scott dedicated this panel to all Native Americans.
Settlers to Oklahoma brought with them seeds, animals and a spirit intent on taming the frontier. New inventions included the railroad, powered farm tools and refrigeration. Study of agriculture began in 1890 when the First Legislative Assembly of Oklahoma Territory approved the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Oklahoma Territory in the township of Stillwater. Today the institution is known as Oklahoma State University, a recognized leader in agricultural research.
Scientific advancements in the twentieth century allowed the examination of plants and animals from a cellular perspective. Experimentation and discovery increased agricultural production and yields, making science a key component of today’s agriculture. The synthesis of past knowledge and future endeavors elevates agriculture beyond food production to include energy, natural resources and the environment. Oklahoma research affects not only state agriculture, but has an effect that impacts the world.
When Scott was creating the large-scale Cyclic Synergy components in December 2010, a flood filled her studio with water and mud, destroying many of her pieces, supplies and tools. Mud coated the sculpture panels in her studio at the time, but both Scott and Cyclic Synergy were resilient. She washed away the mud, completed the remaining panels and installed the finished piece at the Institute for Biosciences in Ardmore in June 2011.
Scott holds a masters in art from California State University, Long Beach, a bachelors in art education from Pennsylvania State University and also took architecture courses at the University of California, Irvine. Her work has been featured in a number of publications and she was named Artist of the Year by the Laguna Beach Arts Alliance. Her public art installations can be seen around the country, from California to Illinois and in corporate settings including the Westin in Phoenix, Arizona and McKechnie Aerospace in Irvine, California.
Source: Commission information from Oklahoma Art in Public Places, personal correspondence, 2013.