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The southeast corner of Harlem and Ontario in Oak Park just got a little brighter, with the arrival of a new public sculpture last week.
Artist Pat McDonald installed his bright red piece on Thursday. Titled "Arched Rings," the sculpture is about 11 feet tall and was constructed at the artist's Oak Park studio using steel and red paint.
McDonald, 46, beat out 26 other artists who competed for the commission at the high-traffic corner. Developer Whiteco Residential, which built the apartment high-rise on the corner that includes Trader Joe's at the ground level, had agreed to pay $30,000 for the winning public sculpture.
"Arched Rings" is a variation on some of the work McDonald has been doing for the past 15 years, since he often works with rings and arches. The meaning and appearance of the sculpture is purposely ambiguous.
"It's open for people to bring in their own history," he said.
The sculpture was the clear favorite, blowing away the rest of the competition, according to David Sokol, head of the village's Public Art Advisory Commission, which ran the contest. Sokol said he liked the color, juxtaposition of shapes and sense of movement it creates while standing still.
"This was clearly the most popular, by a substantial amount," he noted.