A fire seemingly blazes on the hill west of University Hall. A plucky musical instrument stands outside the Center for Performing Arts. And a 1,500-pound yellow creature soon will lumber near the entrance of UT Medical Center.
Cynthia McKean’s “Fire VI,” Michael Magnotta’s “Rodney’s Bass” and John Parker’s “Ornythopterus” are three of the 10 new works being installed for The University of Toledo’s 13th annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition.“Inspiration for my work comes from my life — my experiences and things I love: jazz, space, nature and beauty in all its manifestations,” Magnotta said. “My sculptures typically begin with a trip to the metal yard. From the shapes and textures I rescue, a conversation takes place — a visual conversation — that results in the three-dimensional work composing my sculptures.”
“Outdoor sculptures have to function in a comprehensive way as a drive-by experience, as strong and dynamic silhouettes,” Parker said. “With further exploration for the passer-by, a deeper appreciation and enjoyment can be explored walking around, under and through the pieces.
“Art is not an instant snapshot. It is meant to be lived with and experienced,” he said.
Like perennials, the artwork comes to life each spring on campus.
“This is such a gorgeous time of year when nature puts on a show. The sculptures add another dimension to that beauty — a pop of color here, movement there,” said Dr. Steve LeBlanc, executive associate dean of fiscal affairs in the Office of the Provost and chair of the Campus Beautification Committee.Two of the new eye-catching works are by Mike Sohikian. “Homage to Matisse” features four steel figures in various positions of repose along the sidewalk between University Hall and the Memorial Field House. And located on the east side of the Health and Human Services Building, “Dance of Bliss” shows motion and strength.
Another steel piece, “Poetry” by Maureen Gray, is appropriately placed in Carlson Library’s new plaza. Matt Amante’s “Elevated Intersection” adds an elegant dash of blue to Ravin Plaza on Centennial Mall.
“Stainless Steel IV” by David Vande Vusse gleams near the sidewalk on the north side of University and Gillham halls. Charles Pilkey’s “Paleozoic Landscape” consists of painted steel and river pebbles; it will rest on the west side of Centennial Mall.
And Ray Katz’s aluminum work aptly named “Burst” is located between Nitschke and Palmer halls near the traffic circle.
Nearly 170 artists submitted proposals to the Midwest Sculpture Initiative, and the UT Campus Beautification Committee reviewed the entries and selected pieces for this year’s exhibition.Artists receive stipends for the sculptures, which will be on display for the next year.
More than 120 sculptures have rotated through the display at the University since the exhibit began, and 11 have become part of UT’s art collection thanks to the generosity of campus benefactors, colleges and departments, according to LeBlanc.
“Gifts from donors make the annual exhibition possible,” he said. “If you like the sculptures, please consider a gift to the Campus Beautification Committee through the UT Foundation.”
Go to https://give2ut.utoledo.edu.