Approximately 100,000 vehicles a day travel the Indianapolis I-70 corridor. It's a national freeway and a vital local thoroughfare. And after October, our section of I-70 will be unlike anything else from Baltimore, Maryland to Cove Fort, Utah. In over 2,100 miles of generic highway, the only eclectic sculpture park will be in Indianapolis.
For a lot of us, contemporary sculpture can be hard to figure out. And sure enough, the days are long gone when public art meant a few new statues in the park. But here's one of the best ways we know to explain contemporary sculpture: Keep watching. Watch how the plants growing around it reveal something new. Or how it looks different covered with snow.
Here's your first close up view of the new sculptures...
The totems will stand between 9 and 13 feet tall. Each totem will possess unique characteristics, with steel, bark, and negative spaces that line up. The totems will direct each viewer's eye between distances across the landscape.
"I am approaching this project using the totems in a sporadically calculated endeavor to enhance the landscape. I am exploring repetition, multiple perspectives, and hidden alignment of materials. Each totem is unique; sculptural marks are revealed to the viewer at different times from different perspective."
Jason Bord, MFA Sculptor - Herron School of Art
For the site near West Street, drivers will experience a wave of lotus leaves in various arrangements. Some leaves will be grouped. Some leaves will stand-alone. The lotus leaves will be constructed with a polyester resin and fiberglass shell. Each leaf will have an inner steel structure to support the lotus leaf form and allow for a secure mount to a concrete foundation.
There will be as many as ten lotus leaves in three different sizes.
"When drivers encounter the landscape of lotus leaves, they won't see the actual lotus blooms because I wish the lotus blooms to imaginatively appear in their minds.
My art invites the audience to collaborate with me. Together we will create a tie between Mother Earth and her people. The lotus leaves may even trigger thoughts of peaceful gardens and a return to the comforting embrace of loved ones."
Shi-Fen Liu, MFA Sculptor - Herron School of Art
At the Meridian Street interchange, drivers will encounter a larger than life chemistry lesson. "Life Evolving" depicts a molecule of ribonucleic acid (RNA). Scientists believe that the single-strand RNA was the biological building block of Earth's primitive life forms, replicating themselves into increasingly complex forms millions of years before the appearance of the double helixes of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
Biagio Azzarelli grew up in Santiago, Chile and came to the United States in 1971. While he was growing up, he studied sculpture under the supervision of local artists. In the U.S., Azzarelli became a physician and later, an academic. He retired as a Professor Emeritus in Neuropathology, Neurology and Neurosurgery at Indiana University. Today, he has returned to his first love, creating sculptural forms.
In January 2010, the first public art installation occurred at the I-70/Holt Road interchange. Kathryn Armstrong, a Sculpture graduate student at Herron School of Art and Design, created the piece entitled going home.
A total of 34 multi-colored forms now reside on the east and west side of the exchange. This project is an example of the types of partnerships that the Basile Center brings to the students of Herron.
"The space did not offer any kind of human experience, so I wanted to visually invent a place that would suggest a living environment, while activating the space with color," said Armstrong.