KU News Release

May 13, 2011
Contact: Matthew Burke, Department of Visual Art, 785-864-5664

Visual art students’ wooden sculptures intermingle with Marvin Grove landscape

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LAWRENCE — Twelve students enrolled in Special Topics in Art: The Language of Wood have been collecting, sawing, carving and assembling wood into larger-than-life human forms for an exhibition titled “Spring Sentries.”

The opening for the exhibition will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. today in Marvin Grove. The show will close on May 18.

Matthew Burke, assistant professor of visual art, and his class worked closely with the Public Art on Campus Committee, a group of professors, administrators and staff appointed by the provost to review public art projects proposed for the campus.

Students in the class not only had to work on the sculptures themselves, but they were required to identify and survey a site in Marvin Grove suitable for their ideas and then create a presentation for the committee. During the presentation, the committee posed challenging questions about technical and safety matters and concepts. Afterward, several students remarked how the process made them recognize the complexity of putting sculpture outdoors, especially when working with a committee.

“I had no idea they were going to ask so many questions about my idea,” said Tori Basore, a junior majoring in ceramics. “It was good to talk about my concept with a group of people from KU I usually don’t see.”

Student were asked to use no less than 80 percent wood in their projects. They also had to consider both the personal and public interpretations of their works. Several students worked through initial ideas to land on themes that related to their interests but that also communicated broader themes. Some of their ideas centered on environmental consciousness, gender roles, athleticism and the nature of wisdom.

Burke has been producing artwork for more than 20 years and holds a master’s degree from Queens College, C.U.N.Y. in New York. He teaches sculpture at KU, and his work can be seen at the Brooklyn Museum of Art Library, the Museum of Modern Art Library, Northern Arizona University Museum and the Cleveland Institute of Art. He is a member of the International Sculpture Center and the College Art Association.

Members of the Public Art on Campus Committee are John Gaunt, dean, School of Architecture, Design and Planning; Saralyn Reece Hardy, director, Spencer Museum of Art; Tracy Horstman, assistant vice provost, Capital Planning and Space Management; Liz Kowalchuk, associate dean, School of the Arts; and Jeff Weinberg, assistant to the chancellor. Ex-officio members are Peg Livingood and Marion Paulette, landscape architects, Design and Construction Management; and Mike Lang, associate director, Facilities Operations.

Students in the class are listed below by their hometown, level in school, major, parents’ name and other schools attended.

From Towanda 67144
Kevin Neal Kinkaid, junior in art; Jeff and Julie Kinkaid; Circle High School

From Lawrence 66049
Justin Lee Bergin, junior in art; Denise Bergin; Lawrence Free State High School

From Lenexa 66215
Grace Anne Peterson, senior in art; Ponderosa High School, Parker, Colo.

From Overland Park 66209
Sarah Catherine Swyers, junior in art; Nancy and Don Swyers; Blue Valley North High School

From Overland Park 66213
Samuel John Holloway, sophomore in design; Duane and Kathy Holloway; Olathe East High School

From Overland Park 66223
Victoria Jean Basore, junior in design; Jean and William Basore; Blue Valley West High School

From Shawnee 66216
Natalie Ann Bragg, junior in art; Robert and Kyra Bragg; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School

From Wichita 67205
Jessica Morgan Kelley, junior in art; Robert and Cynthia Kelley; Maize High School

From San Francisco 94103
Amanda Dame, junior in art; John T. Hoggard High School, Wilmington, N.C.

From Watkinsville 30677
Jordan A. Scott, nondegree-seeking student; Richard and Lynne Scott; bachelor’s degree from KU; Oconee County High School, Watkinsville, Ga.

From Plymouth 55441
Meghan Davis Kunz, junior in design; Richard Kunz; Wayzata High School

From Alexandria 22304
Jeremiah Joel Hansen, senior in art; Christa Hansen; Lawrence High School

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