Statues of St. Florian, St. Michael, St. Joseph and St. Mary Magdalene
Artist John Collier employs a technique known as assemblage that dates back to the ancient Greeks and was used in more recent times by Rodin. The sculptor drapes wet clothing on a model of the human form. This serves as the basis for the mold that is then cast to become the sculpture, and gives a dynamic and lifelike form to the work. John Collier has captured not only the technique but the spirit of Rodin in creating something of great beauty to honor all who perished on 9/11 and those who took part in rescue and recovery effort. To borrow Rodin's phrase as he described the faces of his famous "Burghers of Calais," these four faces comprise a "rosary of suffering" but of suffering redeemed when seen with the eyes of faith. In looking on these statues, we are brought back to the horror of that day, but we recall also the courage, the dedication to duty, the compassion and the generosity of spirit we witnessed then and in the days afterward.
On the faces of each of these statues is etched a sense of character that was evident in the lives of so many who died that day. It serves to remind us that whatever it is that comprises character does not come out of nowhere. Rather, "character" or "virtue" is fashioned over time in many small, seemingly inconsequential decisions to act in a certain way or do the right thing, that all work together to make an individual the kind of person he or she eventually becomes. The lessons of loyalty, bravery, compassion and dedication to duty are witnessed day in and day out in homes, schools, playgrounds and neighborhoods, and in houses of worship. It is in these places that the young, in their search to find a life that makes sense and gives hope, can find their path in the example of those who have gone before them. The true work of art is the human being nobly formed, and it is to those who showed us such nobility of character on September 11, 2001 and the weeks and months afterwards, that these statues are humbly and gratefully dedicated.
"My religious art tells stories - the gospel is a story. I enjoy the intersection of the ordinary and translucent. Everyone has the feeling that there's something more important going on behind their everyday ordinary experiences. It's the intersection of the two that gives meaning to our lives."
- John Collier, Dallas, TX