Beyond Books: Bell Library Features Islander Student Art Sculptures

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Site-sensitive installation art, according to Island University Assistant Professor of Art Leticia Bajuyo, can include materials ranging from paint to steel to sound, as these artworks not only take up physical space but also space in our minds. This is one of the philosophies that shaped the spring 2019 Sculpture III course at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and led to its focus on public art installations. In collaboration with the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, eight student-created sculptures are now prominently displayed throughout the building.

“When you’re developing art that will be presented to a selection committee and installed in a public location, there are several components and logistics beyond the first design and how to create the pieces. It’s a layered, and often complicated, experience,” said Bajuyo.

The project asked students to conceptualize their public artwork by theorizing objects and how they influence human interactions with space. They had to consider the object’s meaning, how people will view the piece, and how the piece works in its environment – from safety issues to how it brings out the architecture of the space it resides in.

“It became more than just me working on my art. I had to rely on others and practice good communication – whether it was with my professor, other artists, or people at the installation site. You work as a team,” said Sarah Spaulding, recent Islander graduate and sculpture student.

Prior to installation, students pitched their sculpture ideas and proposed installation space to a committee composed of Bell Library faculty and staff, along with Dr. Laura Petican, Assistant Professor of Art History and Director of University Galleries.

“I was given the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions that helped shape the students’ sculptural designs and installation process,” said Anjanette Jones, Bell Library staff and a member of the committee. “The collaborative process of public art installation was fascinating to be a part of. At Bell Library, we always welcome collaboration with other departments and organizations. We’re honored to be able to showcase and support the artistic talent of our Island community.”

The student sculptures will be on display in Bell Library for one year. See a sample below:

Corpus Callosum by Christine Anusim

Anusim’s work pays tribute to her dual areas of study: science and the arts. A two-piece work, it relies on the persistence of the audience to explore each element, the left and right of each piece, and discover connections across the pieces as they peruse. Inspired by gestalt theory, Anusim’s use of geometric shapes using popsicle sticks represent the thought processes used when approaching the sciences (left) and the arts (right).

I Remember When by Juleanna Fuller

Fuller’s work represents the fabric of memory. The fabric used symbolizes the history and the people that owned them. The stretches and folds have lasted through good times and bad, which is represented in the background fabric. The fabric circle “yo-yos” represent moments in time that continue to shape the human experience.

Isabella T21 by Keisha Hawk

With this piece, Hawk honors her youngest daughter, Isabella, who has Down syndrome. The piece brings awareness to viewers and incites curiosity to learn more about the medical condition. Arrows as well as the colors blue and yellow are prominent in this work, which echo the symbolism used in the Down syndrome community. Hawk aims to raise awareness while celebrating the joy that her daughter has brought her.

What do You See? by Elizabeth Smith

Smith brings attention to how we interpret the mundane. At first look, the materials used for this sculpture appeared to her as only a pile of rusted scraps. However, after multiple reviews, each piece of metal revealed its unique value. Old bolts and rusted pieces became fragments of a face, and their obscurities inspired her to assemble a human bust.

Kudzu by Sarah Spaulding

Spaulding creates abstract, line-based forms that are inspired by electrical currents, plant roots, and neurons. Each segment is made from quarter-inch steel rod that has been cut, bent, and welded together to reflect root structures. During installation, Spaulding arranged each piece to emulate a sense of growth as the sculpture rose up and away from the floor, mimicking the staircase’s form.

Additional Information

To see all of the student sculptures, visit the Bell Library during its regular business hours or view them online at this photo gallery.