Skyhook by Wayne Vaughn

SKY HOOK, WAYNE VAUGHN
Downtown Cleveland, Mississippi

With a venerable career in construction preceding his foray into welding and public art installations, Wayne Vaughn knows what it takes to work ”big” both in form and space. “It’s a very pleasing scale to me; I like to work big,” Vaughn admits. “I have the equipment and I know how to do it, so it’s the right decision for me.” His construction background also provides muse for Vaughn’s latest installation in Mississippi. “It’s a classic joke to all the new guys on a construction site, ‘Hey Newbie, go get me the sky hooks.’ The joke being there is no such thing, but sometimes when you just can’t reach something or get to something comfortably, you sure wish there was such a thing,” Vaughn laughs. “It’s a fun piece, whimsical. I’m pleased with how it turned out.”

Foo Dog Column by Glen Zweygardt

FOO DOG COLUMN, GLEN ZWEYGARDT
Downtown Cleveland, Mississippi

Glenn Zweygardt continues his long-standing relationship inside the Mississippi Delta with his installation of Foo Dog Column. This marks the second time Zweygardt has been included in an inaugural installation site, first in the Garden at Delta State in 1999 and now, on the downtown walking trail in Cleveland. Zweygardt has seven pieces featured in the Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden Permanent Collection, including the commissioned piece at the head of the Garden on campus, Pam Remembered. Set to turn 75 this year, Zweygardt is still producing new works and showing internationally. “Listen, if I’m able and fit and still have ideas for new pieces, I will be creating. There is no quit in this body and I don’t think I’ve said all I want to say as an artist,” he said. 

Sunburst by Hanna Jubran

SUNBURST, HANNA JUBRAN
Downtown Cleveland, Mississippi

Hanna Jubran is a Palestinian Arab Israeli sculptor, born in Jish, the upper Galilee, now residing in Grimesland, North Carolina. As a child in the mountains of Jish, he vividly remembers the “sun bursting over the mountains against the stark blue sky” and that precious childhood memory of his homeland serves as inspiration for his newest installation. Jubran’s work is expansive and his long, successful career has been marked with consistent themes. “My work addresses the concepts of time, movement, balance and space,” he explains. “I want each sculpture I create to occupy and create its own reality influenced by its immediate surroundings. I do not rely on one media to evoke the intended response. Instead, I take advantage of compatible materials such as wood, granite, iron, or – as in this case with Sunburst – steel and bronze.”

Flight by Matt Miller

 

FLIGHT, MATT MILLER
Downtown Cleveland, Mississippi

Hoping to capture the chaotic fervor with which a violinist plays his/her instrument, Matt Miller used mild steel to bring forth the worn patina aesthetic and stainless steel for “pops” of emphasis and impact in his 15ft creation, Flight. “I knew instantly what I wanted to do and my sketch for the piece was more so a grocery list of supplies,” he explains. “I wanted it to look like it was breaking apart or bowing into pieces because of that energy and command a musician has in playing this instrument. There is physicality in that delivery of music and sound, and there is physicality in my creation of this piece, in my work as a sculptor. I think there a lot of finish details that I would encourage the audience to notice and even think about their creation. Just slow down and let the piece speak to you. Find your connection to the piece.”

Broken Arrow by Lawson King

BROKEN ARROW, LAWSON KING
Downtown Cleveland, Mississippi

A native of the Mississippi Delta, Lawson King is a newcomer to the world of sculpture and public art; but his debut piece is both emotionally riveting and deeply personal. As a junior art major at Delta State University in 2015, King, like the entire collective campus, was shook by the murder of beloved Professor Ethan Schmidt on September 14. “I lost my father at a young age to the hands of gun violence and when that happened on campus, when we were locked down, unsure of what was happening, I knew I was scared and that brought back a lot of emotion. Creating Broken Arrow was my way of paying tribute to Dr. Schmidt and his love of Native American history, but I think it was also a reaction to that emotion. It was how I processed and, as I’ve continued to talk to people about this piece, I’m learning my art is helping to heal. It’s a salve to our campus community, Cleveland; and that is powerful and also extremely humbling,” King shares.

Fermata by Wayne Vaughn

FERMATA, WAYNE VAUGHN
The GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi

As defined in its musical context, a fermata is a pause of unspecified length on a note or rest. As defined by the sculpture of the same name, Wayne Vaughn explains, “My sister passed away while I was working on this piece and it ended up taking on a whole new meaning and significance. Just like in a musical composition, you have pauses in life, and in this case, it was a death in our family we had to overcome. We paused and grieved, and then we moved on; and in the business of getting on, this piece was created.” A classically trained musician and founding member of the over 30-year-old Triangle Brass Band, Vaughn is thrilled to have a piece of his work placed at the GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi, even joking, “I text all my music buddies and told them I made it at the GRAMMY® Museum before they did.”

Sax Riff by James Davis


SAX RIFF, JAMES DAVIS
The GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi

Exhibiting for his second time at the GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi native James Davis brings his “Jazz Series” back to the site, this time installing Sax Riff. A concept succession that dissects the 2-5-1 progression in jazz music, Davis took a whole note, divided that by eight and shifted, arranged and then rearranged the pieces again to create the dynamic sculptures featured in the series. “I am constantly intrigued to see what happens if you move just one piece, or put this over here or that over there,” Davis explains. “I’m very lucky to be able to build these pieces and make public art. I will always be happy pulling down a welding mask and looking a bright light. It’s what I was meant to do.”

The Wandering Wall of Strange Ideas by Mark Dickson

THE WANDERING WALL OF STRANGE IDEAS, MARK DICKSON
The Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden

A first-time exhibitor inside the Garden, Mark Dickson showed previously as part of the inaugural Competition Class at the GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi with Guitar Man, a piece that was purchased for the Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden Permanent Collection. Dickson returns this year with two offerings, the first being The Wandering Wall of Strange Ideas. A magnetic, charismatic piece, Dickson ranks this work as his favorite production to date. “It’s my storyteller and it seems everyone that sees it, experiences it, engages with it, is drawn to it – whether it be because they’re envisioning a window, a door, a gate; a portal of some sort. It’s transporting and for me, it’s therapeutic to be free to just create something, anything and these 15 little vignettes allowed me just that opportunity. It was so freeing to just go and create and see what happens with these wonderful materials.”

Stargazer by Ray Katz

STARGAZER, RAY KATZ
The Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden

A Detroit, Michigan native, Ray Katz is an internationally-known sculptor and a veteran of outdoor installations. Stargazer marks the third time Katz has shown in the Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden and his pieces always deliver bold, open geometric offerings. “[This piece] is a celestial experience, visually. It’s almost like something is floating in space, and that was my primary interest in developing the celestial quality, even spirituality, endowed in the piece. I have been fascinated with the celestial theme and its bearing on the growth in our lives, with respect to the things we address ourselves to.”

The Arrangement of Three Circles by Ben Pierce

 

THE ARRANGEMENT OF THREE CIRCLES, BEN PIERCE
The Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden

With the inclusion of The Arrangement of Three Circles into this year’s Competition Class, The Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden welcomes its first-ever kinetic sculpture to Delta State University’s campus. The sculpture is named quite accurately, as Missouri-based sculptor, Ben Pierce explains, “It is, literally, three circles cut up and rearranged, but in the process, reinvented as a shape that doesn’t read like a circle.” As for the kinetic aspect, Pierce continues, “I have always believed public art should be interactive, whether that means how you walk through, touch it, knock on it to see what it is made of…Kinetic art allows you to take that to the next level. You can push the piece, stand on the piece, ride the piece. It allows you to shift your perspective and see the piece from so many more angles. I love that challenge.” 

Symbiosis by Rick Herzog

SYMBIOSIS, RICK HERZOG
The Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden

Born to a family of scientists, specifically the hard sciences of physics, chemistry and mathematics, Rick Herzog showed no interest in his familial pursuits. “As an artist I do not have the answers, I feel my role is more like an activist. My role is to bring awareness to the society in which we live and to the subjects, objects and ideas that permeate our culture in a subordinate or subversive manner,” Herzog explains. “My current work explores botanical forms, the lack of interaction between man and nature, our disconnection from this environment and the ‘artificialization’ of nature, natural spaces and all things living. These sculptures talk about organization and the chaotic nature within natural and man-made forms. I look at how items are composed and their many parts, then abstract their elements – keeping true to their inherit qualities. Some sculptures are more organic in form as if growing or flowing from group to group, mimicking ivy or spring flowers sprouting here and there.”

Sky Sentinel

SKY SENTINEL, MARK DICKSON
The Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden

Standing nearly 10ft. tall, Sky Sentinel is a first for Tallahassee-based sculptor, Mark Dickson. “Sky Sentinel is a stainless steel piece, and this is really the first time I’ve worked this big in this material. Stainless steel is such a wonderful and interesting material to work in,” he explains. “It has such an innate beauty, if it is done right.” A figurative piece, Dickson attempted to marry the human form to the machine in Sky Sentinel. “I wanted to interpret this idea of bioengineering – a machine with a soul, with almost this angelic form,” he continues. “There is something really powerful to that form.” 

Sprout by Ben Pierce

SPROUT, BEN PIERCE
The Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden

Returning for his second installation inside the Garden, Ben Pierce is presenting Sprout, an abstracted form of a seedling or plant, as the first piece in an eventual series focused on growth. Having experienced his own personal growth by transitioning to full-time artist since his last visit to the MS Delta two years ago, Pierce is invigorated by his new freedom and seeks to challenge himself with the creation of each new sculpture. “I want to learn something new with each piece and I want to constantly evolve as an artist. I think by minimizing the outside distractions and minimizing the materials I’m using, I’m left focused on the design. I think there is a great challenge in keeping things simple. When there are less things to distract you and less things to look at, what you are left with is the pure design element of it and the craftsmanship,” he explains. Sprout also marks the first and only time Pierce has powder-coated a piece. “Over the neon green color, I added a clear sparkle coat and it adds an element of glow during the dusk and dawn.”

Adrift II by Durant Thompson

ADRIFT II, DURANT THOMPSON
The Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden

An Associate Professor at the University of Mississippi, Durant Thompson returns to the campus collection, having originally debuted his work in Competition Class IV. His latest submission, Adrift II, marks the first time the three boat-like pieces are being shown collectively and he is thrilled with its presentation. Additionally, it stands as the inaugural presentation of Thompson’s work with color, having painted this trio a monochromatic blue. “Originally, this piece wasn’t a conceptualized piece. The entire thing was created from what we call drop, or the metal left behind from cutting other pieces. Those curves were just lying there, and I saw this flash of inspiration and went from there; the pieces told me what they wanted to be,” Thompson explains. “Visually, I wanted the piece to reflect calm, the calmness you can feel when out there on the water.”