The public works of art can be viewed year round. We will be exploring four of the sculptures found in the immediate vicinity of the museum. To the right of the entrance to the museum is a sculpture by Fletcher Benton entitled Folded Circle T and Arc. Benton was originally trained as a painter and worked as a commercial sign painter for a number of years. He made the transition into sculpture after abandoning painting as a medium. This sculpture is made with his preferred materials, steel and bronze. The angular architectural style of this piece lend itself to a new constructivist design.
To the left overlooking the lagoon is George Rickey’s Annular Eclipse VI. It is a kinetic sculpture consisting of two equal sized circles moving in and out of sync with each other according to the wind. Rickey is most well known for his large scale kinetic sculptures that were moved by the wind. These sculptures were a combination of Rickey’s life long love of mechanical things, and the training he received as both an artist and an aircraft worker during world war II. Annular Eclipse VI is one of Rickey’s last pieces, and was made just two years before his passing.
As you walk around past Annular Eclipse VI to the back of the museum you will see what is probably the most instagrammed piece of public art at UCSB. Stephen Westfall’s Argus is a wall painting from 2015 that was constructed on the outside of the AD&A museum offices. Stephen Westfall is an alumnus of UCSB, having earned his MFA from there in 1978. During his solo show at the AD&A museum in 2015, the museum commissioned him to paint Argus. Inspired by architectural design, Westfalls painting are reminiscent of Josef Albers and Ellsworth Kelly’s minimal color abstractions. And they make a nice background for selfies.
Continuing straight down and out to the front of the arts build you will encounter Clement Meadmores Up Ended sculpture. It is a large steel beam with a curve at one end creating almost a question like shape. Meadmore began his initial sculpting practice using wood and constructing furniture. Inspired by modernist sculpture he saw in Belgium, Meadmore began working with steel on a larger scale. After seeing the work of and meeting Robert Newman, Meadmore began to simplify his form as well as produce pieces with curvilinear shapes to them. A piece like Up Ended then is the culmination of Meadmores artistic development, showing both his skill at working at a large scale and his ability to create simple but compelling forms.
This is just a quick examination of four major sculpture near the AD&A museum, but the campus is littered with work of public art, from Rick Abers untitled sculpture to Peter Logan’s controversial Flying Pencils. The entire UCSB campus is a resource of public art and architecture and is worthy of an afternoon of exploration.
-Winston Braun, Fine Arts Curatorial Intern