Monday, October 29, 2012

Iron Pour, Harvest Moon

Special thanks to my midnight crew. - Michael

Thursday, October 11, 2012

ThursdayOctober 112012
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Artist creates distinguished look in bronze sculptures for new library

Artists Michael Wickerson, left, and Robin Case were at an artists' reception Wednesday evening at the new South Branch Library, 31st and Strong, Kansas City, Kan. Wickerson created the bronze sculptures at the new library, while Case worked on art just inside the entryway. (Staff photo)
An artist's reception for Michael Wickerson, who created the bronze panels on the exterior of the new South Branch Library, 31st and Strong, was held Wednesday evening at the new library. 
   When artist Michael Wickerson created the nine bronze panels that make the new South Branch Library in Kansas City, Kan., look distinguished, he tried to capture the essence of the search for knowledge that the library represents.
   An artist’s reception is planned from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the South Branch Library, 3104 Strong, Kansas City, Kan. Another artist who worked on the library, Robin Case, also will be recognized at the reception, along with artists from the Mattie Rhodes Art Center, whose works are currently on display at the library.
   Working with library officials, staff, architects, construction consultants and community leaders, including Sally Murguia, Wickerson developed the concept for the bronze panels.
   An associate professor and chair of the sculpture department at the Kansas City Art Institute, Wickerson also was able to turn the bronze sculpture project into a teaching opportunity for some art institute students.
   Two art institute students, Keyan Alemifar and Lizzy Olson, took directed study during the summer to assist with the project. Wickerson said the work was done at the art institute’s foundry. Because of the extreme summer heat, he and the students would begin work at 6 a.m. and finish by 8 a.m. some days. Besides receiving training and a wage, the students also received a stipend for artistic merit, Wickerson said.
   “It was a real learning experience for the students,” he said.
   Nine exterior panels at the new library are low-relief bronze sculptures, he said. The bronze castings show stacks of books, ascending to knowledge.  They also show practicing and gaining skills, as well as developing abilities. Also portrayed is the ability of the mind to understand concepts, a different way of seeing and thinking.
   Wickerson also worked on interior bronze panels, including tributes to donors that are displayed inside the library. The nine exterior panels were estimated to weigh about 700 pounds, while the interior panels weighed about 300 pounds, he said.
   The bronze panels had the theme, “Look Up, Look Down, Look All Around.” Wickerson quoted from Dr. Seuss, “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.” 
   Wickerson, who lives near Wyandotte County Lake in Kansas City, Kan., has an art studio there, Wickerson Studios, with his wife, who designs Internet websites. Their studio website is Originally from Canada, Wickerson said he was grateful that his parents came from Canada to visit during September, attend the library opening, and help out with the children while he was completing the bronze sculptures.
   Wickerson said he enjoyed doing this art project for the Kansas side of the Kansas City area. He hopes the library can help be a catalyst for the Argentine area.
   He said his goal is to make more bronze castings in the Kansas City area in the future.
   The artist’s reception Oct. 10 at the new library is open to the public.
Robin Case created this art inside the new South Branch Library at 31st and Strong, Kansas City, Kan. (Staff photo)