Sculpture at The Snite

This semester I will be taking a metal foundry class at The University of Notre Dame. The focus of the class will be to understand and successfully complete the casting process using sand molds and wax positives. I am excited for this opportunity to explore a new medium and I will be documenting my progress and inspiration on this blog. My professor Leticia Bajuyo is an accomplished sculpture artist who graduated from Notre Dame. Her work can be viewed here. 

For our first class, Leticia challenged us to change the way we think about sculpture, and to consider the form, materials, and space that the object fills. What problem or social situation does the sculpture address, solve, or expose. How was the sculpture made? Was it casted? Molded from clay? Carved from marble? We then ventured to The Snite Museum at Notre Dame and spent about an hour examining the various sculptures and installations we have on our campus. Here are some of the pieces that sparked my interest:


Three Rivers, 2006 Michael Dunbar                                                                 Wielded Bronze

Structured bars of wielded bronze come together to form the synchronicity and convergence of three rivers. The bolts holding the moment together resemble rocks in the river, that are the river also, tumbling and shaping the water. I see a shadow of a boat or ship in the form that reminds us of the human ingenuity that has allowed us to travel on water. The sculpture, while abstract in form, carries the undulating sensation of a set of rivers converging.


White Rit, 2013 Vanessa German                                                                       Mixed Media

I was captured by this piece because of the intricacies of materials and the conversation that is historical and emotional context brings. On first glance, the sculpture looks almost like a shrine to an african mother and the power of rebirth. I also noted the possible religious connotations of the mother and the heads breaking off from her that form a cross. I immediately knew that the piece was making a statement about the strength of black mothers and their ability to overcome the history of discrimination that our society has unjustly inflicted on an entire race. After reading the description I understood the “power dolls” she creates to ease the grief of mothers whose children have been murdered. Her work is a contemporary representation of power figures of African societies that provide protection from an array of misfortunes. The materials for this piece come from flea markets and thrift stores, prayer beads made by German, yarn, cloth, and as the artist says “everyday anger”.  The passion and emotion shine through this piece by utilizing historical context and cultural artifacts.


Diana, 1921 Paul Manship                                                                                                   Bronze

I was captivated by this sculpture because of its visual description of movement.  Manship was able to create dynamic movement and tell an emotional story through a static medium. I knew that this piece was rooted in a myth because of the name, but after some research I learned the story of Diana and Actaeon. Goddess Diana was bathing when she discovered Actaeon spying on her. As punishment, Diana fires an arrow at him, turning him into a stag. The sculpture captures the moment in which she releases the arrow and it is now floating gracefully through space. Without the use of an arrow, Manship casts the path of the arrow through Diana’s strength and grace.


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