Thursday, May 16, 2019

New colorful sculptures by artist Lisa Williamson installed outside of the UIS Student Union

The University of Illinois Springfield recently installed three sculptures by California-based artist Lisa Williamson outside of the Student Union Building, which open in January 2018.

The artwork was made possible thanks to the John N. Chester Estate Fund, an endowed gift fund created with the intent of adding to the attractiveness of the University of Illinois campuses.

Williamson’s sculpture series, entitled “Obstruction, Reflection, Transition” combines bright colors with high reflectivity stainless steel.

“The high reflection of the stainless steel, I really love the idea that it's reflecting the architecture, it's reflecting the foliage, it's reflecting the change in seasons. For me, color is a huge part of the work,” said Williamson.

Now that the artwork is in place, the UIS Grounds Crew plans to add decomposed granite pathways up to and around the sculptures. They also plan to add native plants surrounding the area and eventually plant buffalo grass on the berm.

UIS Student Union Executive Director Ann Comerford hopes that the new artwork will spark conversation among students and visitors and lead to a greater interest in art.

“Maybe it will spark some curiosity about artwork and they will go and explore and learn more,” said Comerford. “Maybe they'll stand outside and two people will argue about it and one will love it and one will hate it and that's great!”

Williamson says she’s happy that her first long-term public art exhibition will be displayed on a university campus for students to enjoy.

“I was really interested in how public sculpture interacts with both not only the landscape, but the people that are integrated into that landscape and so for me it was really exciting that this is going to be a university installation,” she said.

Comerford hopes the sculptures will become as popular as other landmarks on campus, such as the colonnade and Lincoln Statue, and evoke memories when alumni return to campus.

“I hope that these three pieces also evoke that for our students and they remember it and they go on and tell stories and they come back and they're like 'oh my gosh they're still here.' I love that and that's exciting,” said Comerford.

The Student Union also recently added artwork inside, including a quilt by New York-based artist Sanford Biggers. It was also made possibly by the Chester Estate Fund.

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