CLEMSON — Between the walls of Lee III, Clemson University students learn the foundations of art and architecture. The award-winning building is home to many of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities’ programs – and now it’s home to “Foundation,” a new piece of public art that seeks to inspire students, faculty and visitors alike.
The large-scale installation is already receiving acclaim – it was featured in Archinect earlier this year.
Foundation seduces and seductively persuades you to initially lock into the seemingly estranged golden phenomenon in the center of the room but unbeknownst to you, such an act is purely a masterfully crafted architectural device of deception to allow the graphic which has inconspicuously enveloped you within its two-dimensional domain to take hold. ~ Anthony Morey, Archinect.
Artists Volkan Alkanoglu and Matthew Au are no strangers to having their work featured on college campuses. Their art projects can be seen at the University of Oregon, Portland State University and Georgia Tech.
Au, a teacher at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, and Alkanoglu, a teacher at Harvard University, have also spent a significant amount of time in architecture buildings across the country. For both of them, Lee III was a blank canvas.
“Lee III is definitely a state-of-the-art facility and a great place to educate creative minds. The building acts almost as a blank canvas waiting to be filled with content and ideas by students creating an inspiring environment. As architects, designers and artists, we are constantly looking for new ideas and forms, but at the end, we are disciplines who produce culture. Lee III is a great facilitator for this endeavor.”
“Foundation” was commissioned by Atelier InSite, Clemson’s public art program. The student-driven Creative Inquiry initiative brings artwork to campus as part of Clemson’s Percent for Art policy. Guided by Thomas Green Clemson’s belief that art is “the magic bonds which unite all ages and nations,” the policy requires that 0.5 percent of the construction value of any new capital project is set aside to be used for public artwork. Students must also be instrumental in the process of commissioning work.
“Working with students to bring art to campus is a uniquely Clemson project,” said David Detrich, an art faculty member who works alongside Joey Manson and Denise Woodward-Detrich to lead Atelier InSite’s efforts. “Each piece goes through a ‘by students, for students’ process. Everything we commission comes to campus through student engagement.”
For many students, participating in a creative inquiry project that’s “by students, for students” sparks their interest. For others, it’s about making their mark on campus.
“To me, getting to be an integral part of the way the Clemson campus evolves is not only a huge honor, but it allows me to contribute something to campus I love with all my heart. It will be around when I come back as an alumnus with my family,” said W. Cody Miller, a visual arts major with a concentration in sculpture.
This is the second project senior Michala Stewart has worked on with Atelier InSite.
“I was drawn to Atelier because I liked the idea of being part of a team of people who were passionate about public art and who got real-life experience implementing it onto our campus,” said Stewart. “Art brings different ideas and disciplines together – it is both creative and intellectual. It’s important to have art on campus because it can be something that connects everyone and prompts valuable discourse.”
Stewart also helped assemble “Illuminated Chroma Wind Trees” earlier this year, which sits in front of Clemson’s Core Campus.
“It is exciting to be a part of this selection process because I get to have a say in the final outcome,” said Stewart. “It’s an honor to be a part of something that isn’t normally in the hands of students. I feel privileged that my opinion is valued and that I get to be a part of the process from start to finish, from the business side to the hands-on side of installing work on campus.”
Fine arts student Samantha Trivinia says Atelier InSite gave her the opportunity to learn another side of the art business.
“I was initially attracted to Atelier InSite because I wanted to find out how exactly an artist went about trying to get a piece in a public area. I had no idea what went into it or where to begin. I was curious to see if public art was a field I would like to pursue after college,” she said. “Atelier is real-world experience; it gives you a chance to contribute to the campus and leave an impact that will be around much longer than you or I.”
Trivinia also sees Atelier as a unique opportunity for students to work with others from a variety of backgrounds and to expand their skill sets.
“It helped me personally with public speaking and presenting to a real audience in a classroom as well as how to work successfully in a group,” said Trivinia.
This is the third large-scale piece since the inception of Atelier InSite in 2012.
The next installation will be located near the Allen N. Reeves Football Complex. Gordon Huether has been commissioned for the piece. His work has been exhibited at museums and galleries and is collected across the United States and internationally. He has received more than 70 public art commissions and more than 175 private commissions.