UIndy sculpture walk: a surprise of riches

 

2007-2008 Fifth Third Bank Campus Sculpture Walk

University of Indianapolis

Through Aug. 31

Indianapolis is no longer a stranger to sculpture — of the outdoor variety that is. With most of the major institutions incorporating sculpture gardens into their ongoing exhibition framework, not having sculpture is more the exception than the rule. It comes as no surprise, then, that the University of Indianapolis has utilized its modestly landscaped campus as a means for exhibiting the work of local and regional (and some nationally-known) sculptors.

Simply dubbed the 2007-2008 Fifth Third Bank Campus Sculpture Walk, the work easily transcends the amateur realm, but is reminiscent of other displays around town: along Massachusetts Avenue, at the Indianapolis Art Center ARTSPARK, the Herron School of Art and Design campus, dotting the grounds of White River State Park … Like UIndy, these and other pedestrian-friendly venues have been made more vibrant with the addition of artwork, permanent or otherwise. From one end of the city to the other, sculptures make themselves known, making the sighting of sculpture less a treasure hunt than a surprise of riches.

We’ve come a long way since the early days of sculpture competitions — mostly local contests yielding modest fruits of one or two pieces of art. Eric Nordgulen’s sculpture at the tip of Massachusetts Avenue where it meets Delaware Street is one of the more memorable early pieces, and many have followed in its wake, whether through competition or invitation. Since those early days, those dedicated individuals concerned with the cultural life of the city have jumped through hoops and transcended political complexities to bring sculpture to the people, so that it’s now almost commonplace.

Nordgulen, who teaches at Herron, is a frequent contributor to the growing outdoor sculpture scene, including the UIndy collection. His “Flying Wedge” rests on the oval expanse of lawn at the center of several campus buildings, its steel branches delicately extended from a solid base. Another Indianapolis talent, Bernie Carreño’s “Jacob’s Ladder” is a welcome flash of primary color placed strategically near a Fifth Third Bank branch (the financial institution sponsored the competition and exhibition).

In all, this year’s UIndy work spans the typical outdoor sculpture media (with two pieces displayed indoors), from limestone to heavy metal to glass. Beverly Precious’ “Universal Continuum,” the largest of the lot, strikes a powerful pose in front of the Krannert Memorial Library.

Alas, this isn’t a permanent display. The 17 sculptures are only on view through Aug. 31, so catch them while you can. For more information, and to download a campus map and guide to the work, visit http://arts.uindy.edu/sculpture or call 317-788-2183.

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