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Industry, Evolution, Turbine and Gold

September 06, 2012

image of a sculpture of a woman made out of steel  
"Contemporary Kore" by Gary Mitchell is one
of the new sculptures installed this summer at
the Wildwood campus.

Transformation is a fitting theme for St. Louis Community College-Wildwood’s outdoor sculpture exhibit. Just as the exhibit changes from year to year with the addition of new sculptures and the removal of existing sculptures, the theme of transformation is common to all four of the newly installed pieces.

In spring 2012, more than 20 works were submitted for consideration by professional and student artists from the St. Louis area. Submissions included sculptures made of steel, wood, wire, sand, cords, aluminum and recycled materials.

“This is the most submissions we have ever received, and it made our job as a selection committee very challenging. We had unique, thought-provoking pieces. We also had to consider how the piece would fit into the environment of the campus and how it would be sited,” said Mark Weber, chair of Arts and Humanities and the faculty member who oversees the exhibit.

Each year, the artists whose work is currently on display can choose to leave it on campus for another year or take it back. Two pieces, “Aspiration” by Snail Scott, and “That Wrens Make Prey” by Noah Kirby, have been on the campus since 2010.  Another work, “Chicago River Landscape” by Eric Lindsey, was installed in 2011 and remains on campus.

This year, another artist had decided to allow his work to stay on loan. “Wading Bird III” by Ralph Rollins will remain through spring 2013. Rollins’ work called “Growth of Industry” was accepted as a new addition.

“The sculpture is a statement about the growth of the industrial landscape from the kernel of the early cottage industries to the behemoth global corporations with their many branches and forms,” Rollins said. “In the end, [all of us] are dependent on the basic manufacturing capabilities that were the core of the revolution.”

For the very first time this year, two artists decided to replace their existing work with a new one.  Gerald Moss, whose work was sited on the patio near the Student Commons, has replaced “Intersections” with a new work called “Turbine.” 

“The shape is reminiscent of a shell you might find on at the beach, or the turbine in a modern jet engine,” said Moss.” I want the viewer to form their own interpretation.”

Gary Mitchell replaced “Vita Novae,” the large aluminum figure along the driveway, with a smaller, painted figure named “Contemporary Kore.”
Finally, the committee selected the work of a professional artist and a student artist to complete the 2012 exhibition. Brent Barrett was a Wildwood student who most recently studied under Joe Chesla at Meramec. His piece “Evolution” speaks to how thought processes change during the creation of any object, and how those changing thought processes transform  the final  piece.

“Because of new lines of thought, my work never turns out as I had first imagined,” said Barrett. 

“Fool’s Gold,” the final addition, was created by James Davania and is based on the figure of a vessel.

“I explore fables and voyages of ancient civilizations that have never produced archaeological evidence,” said Davania, a practicing artist and adjunct art faculty member at Wildwood. “This forces me to use literal descriptions as a catalyst for my visual imagery. Creating the vessel with collected pieces from abandoned homes, furniture and donations has given me the chance to reconnect the material into a new migration.”

Campus visitors can tour the grounds at any time to see the sculptures.  Signs have been posted at each sculpture so visitors can learn more about the sculpture exhibition and the artist’s thoughts about each piece.