WMU News

New works added to Sculpture Tour

Dec. 1, 2003

KALAMAZOO--New pieces from five recognized professional artists have been added to the Western Michigan University Sculpture Tour, an ongoing, large-scale exterior sculpture exhibition installed on campus.

The new works bring the number of sculptures on the tour to 18. Now more than 10 years old, the tour has involved more than 90 artists from the United States and several foreign countries. Artists whose work has been recently added are Nicole Beck, Kenneth Thompson, John Hock, Mari Shields and William Tye.

"The challenge and excitement of working with these artists during the installation and sometimes the creation of these works brings rewards for the students in opportunities and direct exchange they might otherwise not be afforded," says Carol Rhodes, a WMU instructor of art and administrative assistant for the WMU Sculpture Tour Program.

Two of the new additions, those by Beck and Thompson, are on display on the southeast side of Sangren Hall. Beck, of Chicago, has had her work featured in the PierWalk exhibit on Navy Pier, the Northshore Sculpture Park in Skokie, Ill., and at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla. She specializes in sculptures that are mechanisms and contrivances that play with refractions in light, space and time and center on a holistic approach to art and physics. Her piece is titled "Quantaloop."

Thompson, of Adrian, Mich., is a professor at the University of Toledo. He bases his work on a form of spirituality, not necessarily in a religious sense, but as it pertains to the "spirit of man" and its underpinnings of truth and honor. His piece is titled "Standing Arch."

Hock's sculpture, "Balzac's Odalisque," teeters between Haenicke Hall and Everett Tower. Hock, of Minneapolis, is founding director and artistic director of the Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, Minn., and also has exhibited in PierWalk on Navy Pier. He draws inspiration from architecture in combination with abstract constructions in steel.

Shields' installations and sculptures are site-specific and are made for and often at their locations. Shields, who was raised in the United States but lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, built her sculpture on campus from a large tree using chainsaws. Titled "Gondwana Tahnay Landing," the sculpture stands on the north side of the University Computing Center.

Tye's cast bronze sculpture is titled "Steps of the Dance" and can be found on the north side of the Dalton Center. Tye, a Kalamazoo-area sculptor, has had his work exhibited at the Krasl Art Center's Krasl Sculpture Invitational in St. Joseph, the Michigan Consortium for the Arts in Southfield, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art and the Mattix Gallery in Chicago. Visual imagery and modest scale dominate his sculptural inspiration.

The new pieces join 13 others already in place on the tour created by nationally and internationally known sculptors, including Robert Stackhouse, Truman Lowe and Tom Rose. The Sculpture Tour has helped enrich the campus environment and the community as a whole, says Phillip VanderWeg, chairperson of the WMU School of Art and Sculpture Tour director.

"We feel strongly about our commitment to the University community to enhance the campus landscape, augment our existing educational programs and acknowledge the value of current professional practice in the medium," VanderWeg says.

Additional information is available at the Web site at <www.wmich.edu/art>. For more information, call Carol Rhodes at (269) 387-2433 or Phillip VanderWeg at (269) 387-2438.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

WMU News
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