Trail Showcases UK Students' Talents Alongside Professional Sculptors
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 4, 2013) — "Sculpture occupies real space like we do... you walk around it and relate to it almost as another person or another object." - Chuck Close
In an effort to showcase the talents of some of the university's best sculpture students, as well as sculpture as an art form, University of Kentucky's School of Art and Visual Studies teamed up with the Art Museum at UK to bring the campus community a sculpture trail this year. The trail running the length of Avenue of Champions features more than 15 works of art, including four pieces from UK's own student artists.
Located on the grounds surrounding the Student Center, Singletary Center for the Arts and the Fine Arts Building on Rose Street, these public works of art are an integral part of the UK campus, enriching the sense of place and the physical beauty of the natural environment. In addition to the work by art studio students, the path also takes art enthusiasts by the Art Museum at UK's substantial sculpture garden featuring work by several noted international sculptors.
Art by UK alumni featured on the self-guided Outdoor Sculpture Tour was selected and approved by a public art committee at the university while they finished their degrees as students and demonstrates excellence in the field of sculpture. The path includes "Let Fall My Vulnerability" by Robin Baker; "Cherished" by Terry Clayton; "Wheels for Deals" by Will Doerting; and "Wings of Refuge" by Branden Riggins.
Surface has an important role in Baker's work, both conceptually and aesthetically. In "Let Fall My Vulnerability," the Lexington native and 2007 journalism graduate used surface treatment and materials to allude to the vulnerability of the surface and the structure underneath.
For this particular sculpture, Baker wanted to create the illusion of a covering being shed. "As a species we spend much of our lives hiding our true selves. I have found strength in myself I didn't realize I had for much of my life. This piece deals with the discovery of that strength and the shedding of the vulnerability I felt," said the artist.
A native of Olmstead, Ky., Clayton's "Cherished" depicts a mother cradling a baby in her arms and embodies the protective nature of his mother who helped him cope with losing his hearing at age 5 as the result of chicken pox. With her support, the 2007 kinesiology graduate and art studio senior went on to great success playing football and graduating from UK, winning the inaugural Rudy Award, and being selected to exhibit at the 2012 DeaFestival held in conjunction with the 51st Biennial National Association of the Deaf Conference.
"My mother let me know how precious I was to her, and she would never let anybody treat me poorly because of my deafness. She gave me unconditional love and protection as I was growing up. I would hope that any parent with a disabled child would cherish them as much as my mother did me," Clayton said.
"Wheels for Deals," by Doerting, a 2010 geography and 2011 art studio graduate from Frankfort, Ky., explores the constant expansion and integration of global financial markets.
"The shopping cart at the top serves as a reference to the universal consumer experience through its function as a vessel for a variety of products to be purchased. The products themselves have been simplified to geometric forms which expand outward in every direction," Doerting said.
"Wings of Refuge" literally invites onlookers to become part of the sculpture with a seat built into the structure. Riggins, a native of Lexington, developed his concept for the piece from his observations of UK students, who he found disconnected from art on campus.
"I aim to bridge this gap and hopefully encourage students to become engaged and participate in public art. This can be accomplished by inviting these students to physically interact and utilize this sculpture," said the 2011 art studio graduate.
Many of the examples of sculpture on the trail and campus can be found as part of the sculpture garden at the Art Museum at UK. The garden includes work by such celebrated sculptors as El Anatsui, Bob Haozous, Richard Hunt, Albert Paley, George Rickey, Ernest Trova and Peter Woytuk, all part of the museum's permanent collection of art. Currently, the sculpture garden also is host to an exhibition of more than 20 painted steel pieces by David Hayes. The art by Hayes will be on display on campus through July 1.
A sculptural tribute to the years of service by UK student-run radio station WRFL created by Garry Bibbs, sculptor and associate professor at UK School of Art and Visual Studies, is also part of the Outdoor Sculpture Tour. "Thunder Waves of Universal Sound" was made from pieces of WRFL's original broadcast antenna first used in 1988. At the top of the sculpture is the old WRFL tower with the original light, and then the WRFL logo's thunder bolts striking the sculpture form from four sides.
Those interested in discovering the wealth of public art on the Outdoor Sculpture Tour can find a map and pictures of the work here: http://finearts.uky.edu/sites/default/files/sculpture%20tour%20brochure%202013.pdf. The trail can also be accessed on smartphones using the free TakeItArtside! app, created by the Gaines Center for Humanities and the UK School of Art and Visual Studies.
UK School of Art and Visual Studies and the Art Museum at UK are part of the UK College of Fine Arts. The Outdoor Sculpture Tour was created as part of the college's inaugural Find Arts Fest in the fall of 2012.
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