Changing of Seasons by Jesús Nava

Changing of Seasons by Jesús Nava

TITLE: Changing of the Seasons
ARTIST: Jesús Nava
DATE: 2018
MATERIALS: aluminum
DIMENSIONS: 5′ x 5′ (leaf)
TYPE: sculpture

Changing of Seasons (2018) is a collection of 11 aluminum-sheet maple leaves installed at various heights and angles in the new James J. Fritts, DDS Clinical Care Center at the Indiana University School of Dentistry. “I’m trying to bring nature inside the building,” Herron School of Art + Design alumnus Jesús Nava said of this work; “everyone can relate to nature in a way.”

After photographing an idyllic maple leaf, Nava manipulated the image in Photoshop, projected the design onto an aluminum sheet, cut each out with a handsaw, fabricated texture using sandpaper, and then curved them to produce a sense of dynamism.

Changing of Seasons was first installed at IUPUI’s University Library. “When I saw them, I said, ‘I have the perfect place for those’ “ recounted John Hoffman, Assistant Dean of Development for IU’s School of Dentistry, who brought the work to the Dr. Lloyd and Jan Hagedorn Main Street common space, “I knew the silver scheme would match the tones in here. It’s a great enhancement for the area and the building.”

It was also an important enhancement for the career of the artist. “Before John Hoffman reached out, I was taking a break from school and planning on not returning,” Nava revealed. “I didn’t think my work was strong enough, and I didn’t think people appreciated it. He got me to come back to school and finish my career here.”

Talking Wall by Bernard Williams

Talking Wall by Bernard Williams

TITLE: Talking Wall, 2015
ARTIST: Bernard Williams
DATE: 2015
MATERIALS: steel, paint
DIMENSIONS: 144 x 244 x 79 inches
TYPE: sculpture

The phrase, “if walls could talk,” often refers to secrets to be told. In the case of Bernard Williams’ Talking Wall (2015), this idiom is inverted. The wall is telling us a story of Indianapolis’ past.

Stand before the work and you stand—literally and figuratively—within the outlines of Indianapolis’ great African-American history. The patterns you see are derived from African decorative carving and textiles, as well as from African-American quilt making. Nationally recognized figures such as entrepreneur and activist, Madame C.J. Walker (1867-1919); track and cycling champion, Marshall “Major” Taylor (1878-1932); jazz guitartist, Wes Montgomery (1923-1968); are all here. Shining over them is the North Star, that great symbol of hope, freedom, and dignity that guided so many away from the terrors of slavery.

The site of the work is itself significant. Once the location of IPS School 4, one of the original ward public schools, it welcomed both black and white students until 1922 when it was designated for African-American children only. In 1953, a new IPS School 4 building—also segregated—was constructed just north of the original and named in honor of Mary Ellen Cable (1862-1944), an African-American woman who was renowned as a School 4 teacher and principal and as a civic leader. Cable founded the Indianapolis branch of the NAACP and served as the first president of both its Indianapolis and Indiana chapters.

In a world where walls do the work of silencing, Talking Wall gives voice to the hidden histories of Indianapolis in the hope that someone like yourself is ready and open to listen.

The Central Indiana Community Foundation and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick provided the funds for this sculpture. To see more art celebrating Indianapolis’ African American history, check out John Spaulding’s Jammin’ on the Avenue and (Untitled) Jazz Musicians on Indiana Avenue.

To learn more about this artwork, visit http://www.indyartsguide.org/public-art/talking-wall/, which includes information created by Herron School of Art and Design and IUPUI Museum Studies faculty and students in 2009 as part of “A Survey of IUPUI Public Art.”

Open Eyes by Don Gummer

Open Eyes by Don Gummer

TITLE: Open Eyes
ARTIST: Don Gummer
DATE: 2011
MATERIALS: Steel, glass
TYPE: sculpture

Open Eyes (2011) is one of two artworks featured on campus by Herron School of Art and Design alumnus, Don Gummer.

The 16-foot-tall sculpture features a series of ocular shapes encased in a frame resembling a double helix that manages to achieve balance in the midst of movement.

Commissioned by the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute for display in the their courtyard, there is an adjustable spotlights on each side of the piece that illuminate the sculpture at night.

Gummer has won awards from the American Academy in Rome, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Tiffany Foundation. His works are generally large in scale, complex, and benefit from sustained experience over time. Together with his wife, the great actor Meryl Streep, Gummer is also an activist philanthropist.

To learn more about this artwork, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Eyes,  which includes information created by Herron School of Art and Design and IUPUI Museum Studies faculty and students in 2009 as part of “A Survey of IUPUI Public Art.”