Re-imagining bronze in a contemporary setting

Antioch to host a symposium next month.

The ancient process of bronze casting dates back thousands of years and is rarely seen in public. That will change in Yellow Springs next month. Four national and area artists have been selected for a National Bronze Sculpture Symposium on Oct. 13-26 at Antioch College: John Weidman of Brookline, New Hampshire; D’Jean Jawrunner of Tucumcari, New Mexico; Susan Byrnes of Cincinnati; and Brian Maughan of Yellow Springs.

“Antioch College’s agreement to host the event was particularly meaningful, harking back to the years when it first operated an art foundry under the guidance of Italian sculptor Amos Mazzolini and managed by a physics student, Morris Bean. Bean eventually created the Morris Bean industrial foundry, which still operates in Yellow Springs to this day,” said symposium project manager Jo Caputo.

The public is invited to observe the artists at work during the day, and attend a free evening series of related lectures and presentations. These artists will create a total of twelve abstract works for a 2014 Bronze Sculpture Trail in downtown Yellow Springs. The event includes sites on Corry Street for a dramatic pouring of molten bronze at sunset on Oct. 26. The pour will be supervised by sculptor/foundry chief Bernie Carreno of Austin, Texas.

Byrnes designed sculptures that are abstractions of different types of bird nests that incorporate patterns from nature: Robin’s Nest, Swallow’s Nest, and Oriole’s Nest.

Her pieces will be placed in front of Mills Lawn Elementary School.

“I met with the school’s principal to learn about the school and what kinds of things are important to the students. They often visit Glen Helen for field trips, and have a sense of community and a connection to the natural world,” said Byrnes. “I also learned that the school’s favorite song is ‘Red Robin.’ ”

She also has a connection to another symposium artist, Jawrunner from New Mexico. A recently exhibited work at the Dayton Visual Arts Center, a cast iron multimedia installation, “Dress for the Birds,” was created out west.

“I made the dress in Tucumcari at the Mesalands Community College foundry run by D’Jean Jawrunner,” said Byrnes. “When I learned about the call for artists (for the symposium) I immediately sent the application to D’Jean because I thought she would be perfect for it. It turns out we were both selected.”

Maughan is a nationally known sculptor from New York City who moved to Yellow Springs in 2006. He works in various media, but prefers creating sculpture. In the last twenty years he has worked primarily in ceramic clay, much of that cast in bronze. His installations include radio announcer “Bob Uecker” and Major League Baseball commissioner “Bud Selig,” which are located in Miller Park, Milwaukee.

Weidman is director and co-founder of the Andres Institute of Art in Brookline, Mass. He prefers working in stone and metal and was educated at Miami University and Antioch College.

The symposium will include an exhibit opening at the Yellow Springs Arts Council’s community gallery at 111 Corry St., “Maquettes for Large-Scale Public Sculptures.” The preliminary sketches/models will be accompanied by images of the finished work. This monthlong exhibit by international sculptor Jon Barlow Hudson is free to the public, with an opening reception/lecture at 6 p.m. Oct. 18, a Friday, during Art Stroll.

“I was part of the beginning concept development, having been part of the Kettering Arts Council “Kettering Rocks” stone sculpture symposium. That idea was sparked by the first international sculpture symposium, which took place at a stone quarry in Austria in 1959,” said Hudson. “I have participated in thirty of these, and I am eager to have them take place locally. There are many possibilities.”

This symposium is funded in part by: Ohio Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Yellow Springs Community Foundation, and an anonymous underwriter.

It is a “Yellow Springs Experience” produced by the YS Arts Council and other creative community partners.

“The recently awarded Ohio Arts Council Arts Partnership grant will help fund an aluminum pour by Carreno for Yellow Springs High School students on Oct. 28, culminating a study unit on Public Art,” said Caputo. “Project Jericho art students from Clark County are expected to participate. An additional partnership with the City of Kettering will help sponsor a second aluminum pour for their students at the Rosewood Arts Center the following day.”

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