Bowman, Cedar Falls, Iowa
From the artist: For this piece the artist said he was thinking about life and the different journeys or paths people take along the way, which brought to mind the adage “Life is like a rollercoaster, there are a lot of ups and downs.” “I wanted to make a sculpture that incorporated both of these ideas. ‘Life’ is my interpretation of how life's journey can be like an amusement ride,” he said.
Originally from a small farming community in west central Iowa, Bowman worked in construction before attending college. He credits his advisor for suggesting he rethink a major in construction management and explore sculpture as a way to satisfy his creative talent. After a few classes, he was hooked. “I want my sculptures to be personable and easily relatable. Above all they need to be well crafted and visually appealing,” he said.
George Paley, Lawrence, Kan.
From the artist: The juxtaposition of modern technology and old farm equipment is for Paley “the fun of my art.”
“Lady Negril” began to evolve when he spotted “her head” (an old tractor gas tank) on a farm in Winfield “and it was Love, Peace and Music comin’ back.” He noted his art depends on “finding things and putting them together in a way that talks to people,” as seen in the body, made of scrap pieces from a steel fabricator, and the hair, which came from “around” Lawrence.
Benjamin Pierce, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
From the artist: “The concept behind this sculpture is relationships -- to be specific -- severed relationships. This idea of a gap has been prevalent in some of my work. I believe that the gap is very expressive showing a disconnect between two shapes that seem like they belong together. I love the use of negative space as a key element in my work. It’s great to put as much importance on what is not there as what is there.”
The son of a third generation bricklayer, Pierce was raised to appreciate hard work, which, he said, may be part of the reason he chose a path making sculptures. “I have been making sculptures for a relatively brief amount of time, and I really enjoy the challenges that each new design brings. I translate personal experiences into my work and find art to be very cathartic.”
Alan Detrich, Lawrence, Kan.
From the artist: “Mirage addresses my ongoing interest in geologic time, the origins of life and the spiritual unknown. The sculpture takes the form of a portal, a defined plane that offers the opportunity to explore through visual means the notions of entry and exit, the relationship between beginning and end. The portal opening is almost completely filled by three vertical columns. From one vantage point the columns are covered in dinosaur bone dust juxtaposing past with present. From the opposite view the columns, framed by fragments of petrified wood, are mirrored in such a way to reflect both what is in front and what is behind. The observer is reflected in the columns thus becoming a participant in the mirage.”
A sculptor and paleontologist, Detrich has discovered many rare dinosaur specimens, the most important of which was a nearly complete Tyrannosaurus Rex in South Dakota.
Joe Forrest Sackett, Albuquerque, N.M.
From the artist: “Columns are strong, straight, supportive. We usually don’t pay much attention to them, unless they’re blocking our view at the ballpark. This column, however, stands out. It’s bowed; it swoops. Why? What forces are working on it? Unclear, but we can’t ignore it. It challenges our expectations.”
Sackett works mostly in steel, but he does use other media. “Themes are varied. The work is primarily abstract and sometimes geometrically based. Wit is important. Art has teeth, and can bite. It should be provocative. However, the work must also beguile, since provocation without beauty or charm is in the end hollow. I value craftsmanship, so I do my own labor. I take pleasure in the work.”
George Paley, Lawrence, Kan.
From the artist: The inspiration for “Denver Boy,” came about in a fashion similar to that of “Mujere de Negril,” another work by Paley featured in the outdoor sculpture exhibition.
“My friends were clearing out old stuff and I found a robot body,” he said. “I the following year, I studied robots, wind energy and solar energy with LED lights. Art for me is something that just happens; it is my peace and my therapy. Eight years later ‘Denver Boy’ started to emerge. His head is from a group of railroad collectors in Kansas City and his neck is a piece of old farm equipment.”
The artist said his idea is to combine vintage items with modern technology, “which has been a fascinating study and lots of fun.”
Ye Yushan, Beijing, China
A Chinese master artist, Ye has completed more than 100 pieces in the last 40 years. He is a celebrated sculptor who rose to national prominence in his homeland after creating a white marble statue near Tiananmen Square of Mao Zedong that depicts the Communist leader seated in a chair. Ye received a master’s degree in sculpture at the Central Institute of Fine Arts, Beijing.
“Lantern Light” is one of four sculptures given to U.S. cities by the Chinese government to commemorate 30 years of formal Sino-American diplomatic relations. Cities receiving sculptures by other artists are Atlanta, Ga.; Newark, N.J. and Washington, D.C.
This sculpture is placed on the campus while a permanent location in determined in downtown Topeka.