From the March 2014 Desktop News | Ten towering aluminum sculptures made from some 11,000 individual squares that evoke a patchwork design are on display at the Birmingham Museum of Art’s outdoor sculpture gallery, works created by Craig Wedderspoon, associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History. Wedderspoon has been a part of the UA faculty since 1999 and is no stranger to having his sculptures displayed outdoors. Woods Quad, for instance, has been home to many of his works. The pieces on display at the Birmingham museum echo the patchwork-like vein in which Wedderspoon has worked in the past.
“For the past several years, I have been developing a body of work that has examined the nature of the relationships that are created between a viewer and a piece of sculpture as a viewer is allowed access it from outside and from within,” Wedderspoon said of the interactive nature of his pieces. He said he hopes to engage viewers in a physical and tangible way, as well as visually, emotionally, philosophically and intellectually.
“I want the viewer to walk within and around the work, to climb on and move through the spaces and environments that are created as interiors merge into exteriors,” he said.
The squares, which mimic pieces of patchwork quilts, are a reference to his mother, a master quilter herself, and to memories of hundreds of pieces of fabric piled all over his house as a young boy.
“In traditional quilts the top speaks to pattern, color, sequence and repetition, while the bottom reveals the control of the stitch and is homage to the mastery of craft of the maker,” he said. “In these sculptures, I see the relationship of exterior to interior very much as the same in nature as top to bottom in the traditional quilt.”
Wedderspoon said the project was a group effort, and he couldn’t have completed the pieces without his crew members – master’s candidate James Davis, senior arts technician Patrick O’Sullivan, art instructor Jamey Grimes, assistant arts technician Michael Eddins, Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate Adam Hill, Harrison Galleries owner Jim Harrison and art instructor Joe McCreary – who helped him pour metal, transport and install the sculptures.
Wedderspoon said his favorite part of the exhibit is the space at the museum.
“It’s rare that I get to design a whole exhibition for a specific space,” he said. “Even though the work could transfer to other places, I just like the way it all fits together there.”
For more information, visit www.artsbma.org.