For The Intelligencer
EDWARDSVILLE — Hundreds gathered on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Friday, Oct. 4 for the popular annual tradition, where SIUE student artists are leaders in a guided tour of their original large-scale artwork.
The 18th annual Sculpture Walk featured eight sculptures by the following artists: “See Me Rise,” by Lizzi Reinard; “Revival,” by Abbi Ruppert; “Inside/Outside,” by Vincent Stemmler; “Seven Cows,” by Haley Clancy Inyart; “Katherine Dunham: Perpetual Motion,” by Allena Marie Brazier; “Journey,” by Sutton Allen; “Stay in Schools,” by Mikala Kozuszek; “Pathos,” by Joseph J. Ovalle
“Each sculpture walk is different,” said Thad Duhigg, sculpture area head professor in the Department of Art and Design. “This year’s group had all first-time sculptors, except one. I was extremely pleased with all of the students and their dedication to the process and their art.”
Each student gave a brief overview about the meaning and work that went into their individual creation.
The audience, which consisted of University and community members, had an opportunity to quiz the sculptors afterward.
The walk concluded with an awards ceremony where Brazier received the first place prize. This year’s guest juror was Cal Lane, who selected the award recipients.
“We’re all connected, and we’re all affected by everyone who crosses our paths in one way or another,” said Reinard, during her outdoor exhibition. “‘See Me Rise’ is a woman of steel, discovering herself and all that lies within her. She is strong, powerful and has pulled herself up.”
“My sculpture is abstract, and I see it as a representation of the process of leaving a toxic relationship,” Ruppert interpreted. “My sculpture celebrates the freedom and empowerment that follows.”
“I made my sculpture so you can see what’s going on inside and outside at the same time,” explained Stemmler. “While the structure is desolate and some may think of loss, I’ve also planted a lot of native plants within the structure itself. There is also the idea of resilience in this piece.”
“This sculpture is intended to critique the meat industry,” Inyart said appraisingly. “The largeness in size speaks to the impact meat has on our environment. Beef is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases. We go to the store and buy a piece of meat without thinking of the energy and resources that went into it.”
“Katherine Dunham was a professional dancer, choreographer, anthropologist and social activist,” said Brazier. “I admire her courage to follow her passion, which was dance. She decided to focus her passion and develop her own dance technique that captures the essence of communication, spirituality and anthropology all in one. My piece is all steel. I chose it, because it is a strong material, and it references both her and her spirit.”
“My exhibit is a glass case resting upon a steel pedestal. Within the glass case rests a plastered cast of a human jaw, teeth, rocks and a meteorite fragment,” said Allen. “They are solar-powered LED’s, so at night the objects glow from within. When I present them in this pseudo museum context with the lights at night, I give them a presence that may be shocking, and I hope powerful.”
“I wanted my piece to be happy, whimsical and fun,” said Kozuszek. “It’s about community and working together as a group.”
“I have two other pieces across campus – ‘Ethos and Logos,’” Ovalle said standing at his “Pathos” sculpture. “They are a story of crucifixion. My work is a contemporary narrative. I am asking questions about theology and religion. What is real, and what is not real.”
“Selecting winners among the eight contestants was hard work,” Lane said of the award selection. “I tried to approach it with a completely open heart. I also looked for uniqueness and confidence.”
“I was surprised that I won,” said Brazier. “I viewed this as an experience and not a competition.”
“I want people to know of not only the continuous energy that Katherine Dunham put into her dances, but also of all the energy that she put into the people she helped,” added Brazier. “Not everyone will know who Katherine Dunham was, but they are going to see energy, and I think that will touch them.”
Other award winners included Inyart, second place; Ruppert, third place; Reinard, Nathan Miller Award; and Ovalle, Alumni Award. A monetary prize was also included with each award.