The SHAPE Gallery presented the student exhibit “Relics from the Rubble”, Friday, Feb 7.
Members of the Shippensburg community filled the SHAPE Gallery. Shippensburg University President Laurie Carter also attended the exhibit.
The lobby was filled with attendees hugging each other smiling, critiquing and commenting on the sculptures.
The exhibit consisted of 17 student welded projects. Each sculpture is small scale and can be held in one hand.
The exhibit was named based on the materials being used in the sculptures. SHAPE Gallery showed photos on the walls of the former Domestic Engine and Pump Co. plant, built in 1905 and demolished in early 2018. Steve Dolbin, SU professor of sculpture, encouraged students to always be looking for materials for their art in natural forms.
Dolbin, who grew up in Shippensburg, said that after the demolition of the Domestic Pump works, the ground was like “a ruin on a beach.” In the soil were tiny pieces of reminders of the industrial age, which gave him the inspiration for his students’ sculptures.
Dolbin brought his sculpture students to the ruins, and each had their own bag to collect metal pieces, nuts, bolts and other elements. The students made their sculptures with the remains from the demolition. The sculptures are abstract and nonobjective with a reminder of an industrial past, making each piece unique in its own way.
Dolbin told the attendees that his students learned about negative space and positive form, which gave the sculptures the appearance of movement. Some of the students pieces contain bronze and brass, both of which cannot be as easily welded.
Most of the sculptures are mild steel which was melted down at the former casting factory.
The exhibit displayed cast iron sculptures since some had to be mechanically connected.
Dolbin gave the students more of a challenge with the final piece to each student’s sculpture. Dolbin showed students how granite was hard to break and had to be cut with a diamond saw.
Each student incorporated the granite into their pieces, many used it as a mount for their sculpture.
Each student spent 20 hours on their sculpture. They gathered their own materials from the former pump site, organized their plans, learned to cut and grind the materials, learned to weld mild steel together, clean and oxidize the pieces.
Each student faced some struggles. Some students feared their first time welding or forging metal. Dolbin supported each student and showed them how to weld. Students then developed a fine-touch toward welding.
Dolbin, pushed the students to create mature pieces of art, which intimidated them at first. This gave the students the opportunity to submit a piece to the competition.
Students can submit their pieces for the 42nd annual SU Juried Exhibition, held in Kauffman Gallery, for awards and a chance to win prizes. The 2020 judges are Amy Boone-McCreesh, an adjunct professor from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and Ry Fryar, associate professor of Art at York College of Pennsylvania. Information regarding the exhibit dates and opening reception can be found in the Kauffman Gallery schedule at ship.edu/art.
Student artists in the exhibit were: Davis Krovich, Haley Burk-Raymond, Addy Graybill, Isaac Gudgeon, Robert Jackson, Alexis Shockey, Katie Shover, Cheyenne Bass, Josh Burda, Liana Culbertson, Kiana Escueta, Samantha Harvey, Jenna Hevner, Stone Lampley, Whitney Morris, Jordan Robinson and Austin Shoop.
The SHAPE Gallery, located at 19 E. King St., will host the exhibit until Feb 28. Gallery hours are 5-8 p.m. Wednesday–Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free to the public.