Two New Contemporary Sculptures Installed on Baylor Campus
by Julie Carlson, (254) 710-6681
Visitors strolling around Baylor University's campus will want to detour past the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Building and the breezeway area between Old Main and Draper to view and contemplate two new sculptures created by recent Baylor art graduates.
The contemporary pieces, "Windsong" and "Mother," were installed in June and will be in place for a year.
"We are trying to get contemporary sculpture across campus," said Robbie Barber, associate professor of art and chair of the university sculpture committee, which selects works to display on campus. "Contemporary sculpture, by its nature, is very 'in your face,' and one of our goals is to get people used to it. But we also keep the best interests of the campus in mind, and we work to ensure the pieces are excellent quality work. I am very pleased with these two new sculptures."
Placed by the side of Hooper-Schaefer, "Windsong" was created by Lucas Greco, who received his degree in studio art in 2005. The tall, vivid blue piece primarily is constructed of pipe and is a kinetic sculpture, meaning it moves gently in the wind. It also is a non-objective sculpture in that it is more about line and space and creating a lyrical composition rather than a piece that has a deeper meaning.
"Sometimes, art is for art's sake. It wasn't meant to be representational or objective," Barber said.
At 11 feet tall, Baylor's newest sculpture is difficult to miss. Titled "Mother," the hammered steel piece, with its small wings, mask-like face and sinuous body also is likely to provoke speculation and conversation. Is she an angel, a representation of Mary, or a representation of something less tangible?
Created by Tara Ebeling, who graduated from Baylor in May with a bachelor's of fine arts degree, "Mother" stands in the breezeway between Old Main and Draper.
"A lot of people will think she is an angel, and that is fine," Ebeling said. "But when I was working on the idea, I wanted to create a piece about the imperfections in humanity. 'Mother' is meant to be about human futility but also about the hope in what we can achieve. We want to achieve so many things, but we can't. If we had wings, we couldn't fly, because we aren't proportioned correctly to do that."
Ebeling spent a year on the sculpture, working with sheets of steel that she shaped through hammering, welding and bolting. The piece is painted white but is meant to rust when exposed to the elements.
Barber, who calls Ebeling "the best student I have ever had," is very taken with the sculpture, as is Lynn Woodward, coordinator of campus advocacy for facility services.
"It has a softness but also a grittiness. That is what makes it powerful," Barber said.
Woodward said, "I really like her....everything about her, especially her wings and her height."
Barber did stress that when seeing these contemporary pieces, viewers need to consider the medium and process used to create the piece.
"That has so much to do with a sculpture. For example, 'Mother' is created from welded steel, and there is only so much you can do with it. Steel gives the sculpture an aggressive quality. People can miss that part of creating, and if you miss that then you miss half the concept," he said.