Touchable art? Here?

Few people know that some art is also designed to be touched and examined. SIUE houses one of these experiential art pieces. The pedestal style art stands inside Rendleman Hall near the southwest entrance. The sculptor is Terence Karpowicz, of Chicago, Ill.

Karpowicz's 'Passage of Time' in motion.

The piece was purchased with money from a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, which funds art purchases in the state from Illinois artists, according to Eric Barnett, The University Museum director.

Karpowicz received an MFA at the University of Illinois and has made a name for himself in the art world. His art may be found in galleries as near as Chicago and Rockford, and as far as the Tblisi Museum in the Republic of Georgia, Russia. He also has a number of public commissions, including one at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Karpowicz was influenced by art movements such as Minimalism and Conceptualism. He was a Fulbright-Hayes scholar in the U.K., where he worked as an apprentice to the sole millwright for the government’s Society of the Protection of Ancient Buildings, according to his artist statement found on his website (see link).

Karpowicz wrote in an email interview that the structure is made from white and red oak with an inlaid slab of white marble to act as a runway for a hanging, inverted obelisk of western cedar. He used dovetail joints that are ‘draw bolted’ to hold the piece together. He made the piece, Passage of Time, after returning to the U.S.

Dovetail detail from 'Passage of Time.'

“I had just returned from rebuilding windmills in England while on a Fulbright Fellowship. While there I was involved in a motorcycle accident that resulted in the amputation of my right leg,” Karpowicz said. “‘Passage of Time’ speaks to this event in my life with the inverted obelisk (a symbol often seen in graveyards) and a moving element defining the fourth dimension of time—the equation being ‘time heals all wounds.’”

The influence of nature and his Fulbright-Hayes studies have stayed with him in his works.

“I continue to practice the craft of wood-working and joinery and am especially drawn to the interactions of wind, water, sunlight and gravity on natural materials,” Karpowicz said in his artist statement.

Inlaid marble "runway" for aromatic cedar obelisk.

“It was always my intention to allow my audience to experience my sculptures first hand—no pun—through their senses … touch, sight and smell (aromatic cedar) and to realize that they can make a difference by their interaction. Not just sitting by and watching the world pass before them, by getting involved—touching the sculpture, thus providing energy to move it, (with)  the viewer in fact become part of the work— they can make a difference,” Karpowicz responded when asked why the piece was meant to be touched.

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