'Via Solaris' sculpture to be dedicated

September 16 2007

A significant piece of outdoor public art on the Indiana State University campus will be formally dedicated during ceremonies beginning at 1:15 p.m. Friday (Sept. 21) on the north side of Stalker Hall.

"Via Solaris," Latin for way or road of the sun, is a 20-foot, bronze and steel sculpture created by New York artist John Van Alstine. The work, funded in part by support of alumni and friends of the University, successfully welds the character of large scale contemporary sculpture with the tradition and function of humankind's oldest scientific instrument, the calendar. It has special relevance in a university setting passionately interested in the relationship between the arts and sciences.

“With its impressive scale, placement and design, the work simultaneously combines aspects of astronomy, physical science, and contemporary art,” Van Alstine said. “It creates an important destination on campus, engaging, educating and challenging the university and local communities.”

The piece, Alstine’s first piece of public art in the state of Indiana, serves as a reminder to the natural rhythm of life.

“The cyclical nature of the days, seasons, tides, together with patterns of light and darkness, plant and harvest, high and low, and birth/death, have historically given meaning, structure and richness to our lives,” Van Alstine explained. “Via Solaris, in a dramatic and sculptural way, offers the opportunity to regain awareness of these fundamental rhythms that continue to subconsciously shape our lives and hopefully help us reconnect with them.”

Van Alstine hopes the piece becomes a center for education.

“I hope it becomes a teaching tool, not just for the University, but also for the local schools,” he said.

Instructions on how to view the sun spot will be engraved into the sculpture’s granite base, according to John Lustig, curator of ISU’s Permanent Art Collection. Future plans call for a computer kiosk, to be located in the Stalker Hall lobby, to showcase a sun calendar and related background on the science behind how it works.

“It’s public art with a purpose,” Van Alstine said.

Prior to dedication ceremonies, Van Alstine will talk about constructing “Via Solaris” during an artist’s lecture beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 in the Recital Hall of the Center for Performing and Fine Arts, located at the corner of Seventh and Chestnut streets.

Both the lecture and dedication ceremonies are free and open to the public.

During the last decade, Van Alstine has created a body of outdoor and indoor sculptures, site specific installations, public art projects, and drawings. His works, ranging in size from the small and delicate to the vast and monumental, has distinguished him as one of the most important sculptors of his generation. Van Alstine’s work has been exhibited widely in the U.S., as well as in Europe and Japan. He has completed 12 large scale outdoor, site-specific commissions.

His second piece of public art in the state of Indiana, the 35 foot tall sculpture "Cardinalis," will be installed at the new Indianapolis International Airport mid-field terminal. The sculpture, constructed out of steel, granite, aluminum and titanium, pays homage to aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright.

His other current projects include a recent exhibition for the Lake Placid Center for the Arts and a 16 foot tall bronze outdoor sculpture to be installed at Beijing’s Olympic Park for the 2008 summer games.

Van Alstine's work is also showcased at The Adirondack's Sacandaga River Sculpture Park, an 8-acre parcel is nestled along the banks of the historic Sacandaga River, in south central section of the Adirondack State Park. The grounds, once part of a 19th century wood products mill, are landscaped showcasing an ongoing, changing exhibition of sculpture. Van Alstine's work is held in many national collections including of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Smithsonian Institution.

More information on Van Alstine’s work can be found at www.johnvanalstine.com.

Contact: Melissa Vandenberg, director of University Art Gallery, (812) 237-3787 or mvandenberg@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu

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A significant piece of outdoor public art on the Indiana State University campus will be formally dedicated during ceremonies beginning at 1:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21 on the north side of Stalker Hall.

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