Great Water is the work of Baltimore artist Adam Nelson. He grew up in Florida, but came to Maryland for his education. He received his Bachelors in Fine Arts in interdisciplinary sculpture from the Maryland institute College of Art in Baltimore. After finishing the BFA program, he began working as a habitat fabrication specialist at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. He has also received his Masters in Studio Arts Program from the University of Maryland. Besides working on his own art, Adam is a sculpture teacher at the University of Maryland and Anne Arundel Community College
Nelson describes his sculpture at City Hall in this way:
"This sculpture is a representation of the Chesapeake Bay made with contemporary perspectives and materials. I wanted to create a ‘layering of information’ to convey the idea of the bay as a form, and what it means to describe its water. By taking advantage of the satellite viewpoint, I was able to create my own gesture drawing of the shape of the Bay.
The first layer of the piece is the aluminum silhouette representing the outline or main body of the bay. Your perspective is turned as if approaching land from the Atlantic Ocean.
The second layer is the coloration on the surface of the aluminum. This represents the dynamic color changes of the water from all of the tributaries feeding in, and the currents that create movement…from its tributaries down to the connection with the Atlantic Ocean, the Bay's salinity, sediments, and depth change. That change can be seen in the way the color fluctuates in imagery and in person.
The third layer is my interpretation of the surface of water itself. I wanted to create a form of swell and movement captured like a snapshot. As guests move past the piece the lighting interacts with the surface of the piece creating a different visual dependent on where the viewer stands. The final piece is a static sculpture with a dynamic viewing opportunity. Chesapeake is thought to have been an Algonquian word for a village at the mouth of the bay, but it may translate as Great Water.