The walls of a major construction site, such as that of the new LMU Life Sciences Building serve multiple purposes. Walls define a work area, restrict access, and signify caution. These walls also present as a canvas of possibility—to advertise the obvious and mundane, but to also stir the imagination of engaged possibilities both on and behind the wall. The College of Communication and Fine Arts capitalized on the wall around the construction of the new Seaver Life Sciences Building as a canvas for critical artistic expression. View the image slideshow.
Shortly after school began for the fall semester, a dozen giant-sized works by students were hung on the 12-foot high gray plywood walls that ring the work site. Called “interdisciplinary meditations on art and science,” the images are the winners in a public art competition run by the Department of Art and Art History.
“The bottom line is we are always trying to pull the art in liberal arts into the foreground,” said Garland Kirkpatrick, Chair of Studio Arts in the Department of Art and Art History. “This was an opportunity to create a venue of significant scale, which we are always seeking.”
The new “gallery space” is the fruit of a collaboration between CFA Dean Bryant Keith Alexander and Dean Richard Plumb of the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering.
Dean Alexander is encouraged by the interdisciplinary collaboration between the College of Communication and Fine Arts and Seaver College. He says, “This is a wonderful opportunity for the campus community to see, engage, and explore conversational responses across disciplinary divides. In this exhibition our students explore the phantasms of art and science as disciplines of expression and discovery. The scale of this exhibition is not only a testament to the talent of our art students, but to the creative potentials that will exist for students to explore in the labs of the new science building.”
“The works are in a variety of mediums and demonstrate the depth and creativity of student work being done on campus,” said Michael Brodsky, professor of art and art history, who with Kirkpatrick and others juried the competition. Some of the work – all of which were sized to match the scale of the outdoor walls – are hand drawn, one is dripped ink, others are programmed mathematical algorithms to create a fractal graphic.
Dean Plumb is appreciative. “Seaver College is pleased to display works of art designed by CFA students,” he said. “Not only does the project present an excellent opportunity to work across disciplines, it demonstrates something deeper: There is much conceptual symmetry between science and art. While scientists consider and investigate the physical world, artists use talent and imagination to aesthetically embody this same world.”
Who knows, maybe when the Life Sciences Building opens, there will be space for public art within its halls and plazas.