47.4 F
Bellingham
Monday, June 1, 2020

New outdoor sculpture decided upon, expected to adorn Old Main lawn as soon as spring 2018

By: Landon Groves

 

When the selection process for Western’s next outdoor sculpture began, Western Gallery Director and Outdoor Sculpture Curator Hafthor Yngvason already had an artist in mind.

Almost two years later, his first choice, artist Sarah Sze, is beginning project development.

“Sze was clearly the artist that everyone wanted,” Yngvason said. “She really is one of the most fantastic artists of her generation.”

Funding for the project comes from the Sam Carver Gymnasium renovation budget, in accordance with the Washington State Arts Commission’s Arts in Public Places program. The statewide program requires 0.5 percent of construction costs to go toward the acquisition, placement and stewardship of artwork in state-funded building projects.

The sculpture will be created from a single boulder, split in half to reveal a geode-like sunrise made from opaque glass rods. It will sit partially submerged in the lawn outside Old Main to maintain the illusion that it has always been there.

Digital rendering of the future art piece. // Photo courtesy Hafthor Yngvason

“[The sculpture] will explore the the fragility of time passing, and our desire for weight and permanence in the face of both overwhelming natural forces and the ubiquitous images that surround us daily,” Sze wrote in her art proposal.

Even with the funds from a huge project like Carver Gym’s renovation, the university still didn’t have the money to commission a major artist like Sze, Yngvason said. But Western’s existing sculpture collection prompted Sze to work for less than her usual fee.

“Not enough people know that we have one of the best university collections of campus sculptures in the country,” Yngvason said. “I keep telling them, ‘We have an ivy league collection.’”

Sze toured Western’s campus in November 2016 to look at the existing collection, most of which were commissioned and built by her peers. Matt Hammatt, a local collector and member of the selection jury, was in attendance.

Hammatt said that Sze was impressed with the collection and honored to be considered a part of it, and that whatever she came up with would be a reaction to what was already there.

“She wants to look backward and forward with respect to art history,” Hammatt said. “The stone points back to the history of outdoor sculpture, while the photographic image points forward, taking sculpture in a new direction.”

The artist selection process began in January of 2016, when Yngvason assembled a jury of art professors, local collectors and university officials to sift through numerous artists eligible for the project. From the beginning, Yngvason said it was clear that Sze was the artist that everyone wanted.

Julia Sapin, art department chair and art history professor, was also on the jury that reviewed Sze’s proposal.

“[Sze’s work] is very detail oriented, but the overall image is compelling in and of itself,” Sapin said. “You can look at it from an overarching perspective, or you can look at the details and find those very interesting. I like that balance in her work.”

An installation date has yet to be set for the sculpture, but Yngvason said it could be spring 2018.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

3,959FansLike
1,241FollowersFollow
5,461FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe

Must Read

Behind the systems: WWU Newman Center forced resignation of student employee after learning of same-sex partner

Student says she was told to break up with her girlfriend or quit her job

Behind the systems: Former members frustrated over student’s resignation, double standards for dealing with sexual activity

Former members say rules regarding moral conduct were not applied equally This is...

Resident advisers hold open forum with university officials to discuss concerns

Written by: Bram Briskorn and Questen Inghram Over 300 people packed into Arntzen Hall, room 100 as if it were...

Latest News

Alcoa’s Intalco Works aluminum smelter to lay off 700

A sign posted on the side of the road in Ferndale, Wash. declares support for Alcoa...

Find your flow: crafting in isolation

A wire wrapping piece by student artist Kyle Lind. // Photo courtesy of Kyle Lind Opinion

Student Health Center to offer in-person physical evaluations

The Student Health Center on the north end of Western’s campus has been supporting students virtually. // Photo by Ella Banken

Personal shoppers v.s. COVID-19

A gloved hand carries a bag full of groceries. // Photo illustration by Victoria Corkum By Victoria Corkum

Survey shows Whatcom County’s small businesses are struggling

Outside of The Shakedown in 2018. // Photo by Lili McMurtrey By Hailee Wickersham

More Articles Like This