In Play, 2014
D. Kent and Linda C. Anderson and Jean T. Clarke Center Great Lawn
Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies
Gift of Leslie '69 and Brad Bucher '65
All five sculptures were cast of bronze using a fabric form, confounding the material nature of the sculpture. At first glance, the orbs appear heavy and dense as traditional bronze sculptures. In fact, their hollow and intricate construction challenges the viewer’s expectations, where upon closer inspection detailed traces of the original cloth and lace forms are apparent on the surface. The surface patinas were applied with both hot and cold coats of patina. The darker orbs were buffed to reveal flashes of their metallic base surfaces while the white orbs remained untouched. They were then coated with two layers of a sealer, a matting agent, and, finally, waxed to protect their surfaces.
The sculptures are in dialogue in two groupings; one on the southwest corner and the other on the northeast corner of the Great Lawn. They convey a lightness in their positioning, appearing to hover over the grass as if they could be easily nudged or rolled. In Play invites intimate inspection, contemplation, and a re-thinking of the ideas sculpture can communicate.
About the Artist: Born in Minnesota, Joseph Havel is a sculptor who has worked in bronze, resin and fiber. Havel’s work weaves together personal narrative and larger historical forces. The juxtaposition of divergent materials (here, bronze and cloth) and a trompe l’oeil sensibility are common themes found in Havel’s work, which also comments on Minimalism and the construction of identity. His work has been exhibited widely in the United States and Europe, and is in the collections of many museums, including the Pompidou Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. In 1987 he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowship, and in 1995 he received a Louis Comfort Tiffany Artist’s Fellowship. Havel lives and works in Houston, and is Director of the Glassell School of Art.