New collection of outdoor sculptures at IVC

Kseny Boklan

Irvine Valley College fine arts department is hoping to make aesthetic works accessible to students and establish a permanent collection of sculptural works, in an effort to transform the entire campus. 

“We want to encourage the creative spirit of the student body,” said Lisa Davis Allen, academic chair of the art department, “build a collection and find a connection with the arts community of Southern California.”

In 2008, the Department of Art at IVC launched the Biannual Outdoor Sculpture Invitational Project. The project is based on leasing five sculptural works for 24 months, and after the lease is up figuring out a way to purchase one or two of the most popular pieces to remain on campus, plus bring in a new crop of inspiring works.

“Many schools around Orange County don’t have sculptures on their campus,” Allen said. “I don’t think Saddleback College does.” At IVC, faculty uses the sculptures as learning tools, incorporating them into their curriculum.

“One student was tapping Jason E. Butler’s piece to find notes and tones for her musical piece,” said Allen.

Teachers use these sculptures as learning tools. Writing teachers sometimes ask students to write about the sculptures.”

Every artist’s history is relevant and inspiring to the college community.

“Jon Seeman is a well-known artist,” Allen said. “His piece is one we would love to keep.”  Its abstract red circles and lines make it a modern piece much like the architecture of the new BST building in the background.

Esmoreit Koetsier is a former IVC student who has been involved in numerous solo and
group exhibitions. His sculpture “Compression” can be seen next to the Student Services building.

“During the reception one of the guests pointed out that this piece looks like the letters ‘IVC,’ ” Allen said.

A student was writing in her notepad as she observed the “Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” a sculpture by a Frenchman Jean-Louis Astier, who begun his career as a geophysical consultant and eventually published a book about his experiences. His primitive-style
sculpture is next to the IVC arts building and is composed of lava rocks he assembled into pillars with a mantle piece of a pig/man’s head.

The last two sculptures are works done by college instructors. Jason E. Butler teaches metalwork and his piece is called “Up, up, up to where even George W. Bush has got Soul after Neil Young.”

“People usually think it looks like lightning bolts or roots of trees,” Allen said.

The last piece is very inconspicuous and is easily missed, even though it is placed in the college’s center.  Matthew Furmanski called his philosophical sculpture “Crossroads Oracle: Lantern For Diogenes.” Light bulbs are always on top of this multi-headed sculpture lamp and buttons, which when pressed, spurts out thought-provoking questions.

“This sculpture signifies the modern crossroads,” Allen said. “Inspired by Diogenes, an
ancient philosopher who walked around with a lid lantern all day, looking for the one just man.”

In May 2011, IVC will be hosting the second BOSI sculpture rotation. However, the college is hoping that generous donors will purchase a piece for the college’s campus or that maybe one of the artists will gift their work to the students. In any case, Allen said that she believes the project is a success and IVC has a really strong interest in the health of the arts on its campus.