BPAC

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.”

Closer Separation by Ben Pierce

Artist Statement

My work has been a reflection of an internal search to discover who I am and how I fit into the world.  I attempt to create Ideas and feelings utilizinggeometric design and non representational shapes.   How do you communicate a feeling or memory in a sculpture? This is a question I try to answer visually. 

Specifically in this work the idea of “the gap” is present- this idea represents a distance I felt after serving 4 years in the military and returning home to feel like I didn’t belong.


PIECE SPECIFICATIONS:

10’H x 5’W x 2’D

CREATION DATE:

2010

click photos to enlarge


TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A SCULPTOR. WHEN DID YOU START SCULPTING? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHTS?

I began making sculpture after returning home from the military. I began school pursuing my BFA and it was late 2009 or early 2010 when I actually began to create my own work that was not just a project for class. I have been featured in 573 magazine and in Missouri Life. I currently have a sculpture on display in Oak Park Chicago and I sold my first sculpture (large scale) this year.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO SCULPTURE?

I was attracted to sculpture because it’s building something- my dad is a 3rd generation bricklayer and I grew up watching him.  Instead of houses it is metal sculpture.

WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION FOR THIS SELECTED PIECE DERIVE?

The idea of negative space has been a huge factor in all of my  work even to this day. The idea of two pieces that look like they belong together but don’t fit- this comes from my own experience returning home from the military and feeling like I didn’t belong.

TELL US ABOUT THE CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH CRAFTING THIS PIECE.

Well, this is one of my first sculptures and I was still learning how to work efficiently. This sculpture took much longer than it would have if I had made it now.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO COMPLETE THIS PIECE?

I didn’t work on it full time, but it took almost a month maybe a little longer to complete all the welding and grinding.

HOW DO YOU WANT THE SCULPTURE GARDEN AUDIENCE TO LOOK AT YOUR WORK?

Any way they choose. The idea that they will be taking the time to look at it is great. The best view is through the gap between the two halves. Intentionally so, the view otherwise is less interesting- this way the audience is almost forced to view through the two halves which is how I intended it to be viewed.

WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE THE AUDIENCE TAKES AWAY FROM YOUR PIECE?

Any opinion good or bad is a good thing for art. This means I made the viewer feel something.  The Sculpture is about isolation and feeling ostracized – but it also has a positive side. Through my time working on this sculpture and talking about it, it was  very cathartic for me and helped me get over some things.

WHAT OTHER ARTISTS INSPIRE YOU?

Richard Serra and David Smith

WHY DO YOU DO THE WORK YOU DO?

Working with metal is hard work especially at this scale and larger. It becomes meditative for me- I lose myself into the work and the feeling of accomplishment after completing a large scale piece can’t be duplicated.

 

General Slaps by Matt Miller

Dancer 10 by Jack Howard-Potter

Artist’s Statement 

I work to capture movement in a medium that does not move. Using steel, which is an inherently rigid material, I work to convey a sense of fluid action in space. My work explores the wide range of movement of the human figure informed through my study of drawing the human anatomy. My sculptures seek to convey the motion of the body in extremely stressful and beautiful positions; the moment that a dancer is at the peak of a jump, the weightless split second before a body succumbs to gravity. I am describing an ephemeral action in steel to convey this moment for eternity. I want the viewer to visualize the actions that led up to a given pose and the actions that will follow it. Using the brightly colored surfaces separates the figures from the landscape, making them stand out in much the same way people do when they wear clothes. The brilliant colors serve as protection for the steel from the corrosive outdoor environment as well as adding excitement to the steel to aid in the sense of movement. The work explores the range of possibilities and flexibility of the material as well as the subject matter. 


Artist Biography

Motivated by his study of human anatomy and movement, Jack Howard-Potter works with steel to create large-scale figurative sculptures. His work has been on display throughout the world in outdoor sculpture parks, galleries and public art exhibitions.  

Howard-Potter grew up in New York City where he was inspired by the public sculpture of Alexander Calder, George Ricky and various performance, dance, and artistic exposure.  He earned a BA in Art History and Sculpture from Union College and has been making and displaying his original sculpture since 1997.  

After college, Howard-Potter moved to Colorado and worked with a blacksmith creating furniture and learning about the properties of steel, the medium that he would eventually use to create his art.  Howard-Potter also gained the skills to convey a heightened sense of fluidity in solid steel while learning about the commercial practices of metalworking  

In 2001 Jack enrolled in anatomy and drawing classes at the Art Students League in New York City to further his skills as a figurative artist and understand how the human form works and moves.  Famed artist and instructor at the League for 40 years, Anthony Palumbo, selected Howard-Potter to work as his assistant and eventually became his mentor. For two years Jack immersed himself in the human form, sketching five days each week and completing thousands of drawings.  It was this practice that gave him the in-depth knowledge of human anatomy that can be seen in his work today.   

In 2005 Howard-Potter made his largest and most daring sculpture to date, The Muse.  Standing 27 feet tall the monumental figure of a female form taking to the sky, made out of almost two thousand pounds of steel covered in a galvanized and powder coated silver skin took 4 months to complete and representing a major success in Mr. Howard-Potter’s career.  

Jack has permanent and long-term displays in sculpture parks, municipalities and galleries across the country including Marco Island and Coral Springs, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; Pemberton, New Jersey; Salem, New York; Jackson, Tennessee; Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Chicago, Illinois and Blaine, Washington.  

Howard-Potter resides in New York City with his wife, Erica, daughter, Skylar and son Lyndon, and is a member of the board of trustees for the Elisa Monte Dance Company where he continues sketch rehearsals and draw inspiration from the dancers. 

Interlude by Wayne Vaughn

Nature and industry inspire my work.  I strive to bring animation, balance, and intrigue to my work, playing with gravity, but keeping trust between the piece and its landscape. My hope is that my work invites the viewer to play, question, and respond.  It is a great honor to have my work recognized, but my greatest reward is the delight on the face of a child.