SIU School of Medicine has commissioned contemporary sculptures to commemorate two milestone anniversaries. These pieces were dedicated in celebration of the School's growth since its inception in 1970 and serve as visual representations of its successes.
Harbinger of Good Will, commissioned in 1982, is a bronze sculpture (7 ft.) by artist Kenneth Ryden of Chicago. It was commissioned to commemorate the School's 10th anniversary. The sculpture is located in the southeast corner of the outdoor courtyard at the Medical Instructional Facility, 801 N. Rutledge, Springfield.
At the dedication ceremony in 1982, the artist explained that this piece "signifies the hope and consequence to mankind that come from the ongoing commitment to expand knowledge in the healing arts ... a commitment evident here at the SIU School of Medicine." The work "represent[s] the many aspects of medicine. The wings are suggestive of medical practice, offering dignity, hope and good will, and the figure itself symbolizes the spiritual essence of humanity," said Ryden
Vision Quest, commissioned in 1990, is a sculpture of laminated wood and steel rods with panels of laser-etched mylar by artist Joseph Burlini of Arlington Heights, Ill. The geometric shapes of this mobile suspend from the skylight at the top of the northeast stairwell of the Medical Instructional Facility, 801 N. Rutledge, Springfield. This piece was commissioned to commemorate the School's 20th anniversary.
As part of the Illinois Art-in-Architecture program, SIU School of Medicine and the Capital Development Board allocate one-half of one percent of building construction budgets to the commissioning and collecting of artwork. Newer sculptures and large-scale artwork that can be found throughout the Springfield campus were purchased as part of this program and help to make the campus a place of culture and beauty.
The following three pieces were commissioned in 1991 as part of the construction of the Springfield Combined Laboratory Facility.
Torre is a limestone sculpture (78 in. x 40 in. x 25 in.) by artist Chris Berti of Milwaukee, Wisc., that depicts a bird upon his perch. This piece can be found on a grassy area beneath the bridge connecting the Medical Instructional Facility and the Springfield Combined Laboratory Facility, 825 N. Rutledge, Springfield. The sculpture exemplifies Berti's ability to recreate animals and everyday objects with honesty and care. A ceramic artist by training, Berti taught himself to work with stone, following in the path of his stonemason grandfather.
Music for the Eyes is a sculpture of glass and granite (12 ft. x 4 ft. x 7 ft.) by artist William Carlson of Miami, Fla. The sculpture sits at the southwest corner near the School's Research Facility, 911 N. Rutledge, Springfield. Works by this artist can be found in museums across the world. Carlson's creations reflect his craftsmanship and his interest in geometry, texture and color.
X-scape is a contemporary acrylic on canvas painting (8 ft. x 12 ft.) by artist Barbara Blades of Evanston, Ill. The large-scale painting is located in the break area between the Medical Instructional Facility, 801 N. Rutledge, and the Springfield Combined Laboratory Facility. Blades' work has been exhibited in many local, national and international exhibitions and her pieces can be found in public and private collections across the world.
The following five pieces were commissioned in 2005 as part of the construction
of the Springfield Combined Laboratory Facility Addition.
Beacon is a sculpture of granite and steel (13 ft. x 6 ft. x 4 ft.) created by artist Barry Tinsley of Oak Park, Ill. This abstract piece can be found on the west side of the Medical Instructional Facility near the bridge to the Springfield Combined Laboratory Facility, 825 N. Rutledge, Springfield. Tinsley's works are located throughout the United States and Europe in private, corporate and municipal settings.
Enigma Variation #2 is a sculpture of stainless steel (8 ft. x 9 ft. x 8 ft.) by artist Ed McCullough of Cissna Park, Ill. The piece is located on the south side of the Calhoun Avenue Complex, 327 W. Calhoun Ave., Springfield. McCullough is a graduate of Illinois State University and a professor at Columbia College in Chicago. The artist is fascinated with space, form and line and he says that he creates works that are an "exploration of things [he] thought [he] knew." Other works by McCullough can be found throughout the Midwest.
Free Song is a stainless steel sculpture (13 ft. x 6 ft. x 8 ft.) by artist Mike Helbing of Berwyn, Ill. The sculpture is located on the southeast corner of Hay and Reisch Streets, west of the Springfield Combined Laboratory Facility Addition, Springfield.
The abstract piece depicts the strings of a musical instrument that is playing a song for all to hear. The artist finds inspiration in the shapes of trees and the movement of dancers and his interests range from the scientific to the naturalistic. He uses found objects, primarily stainless steel, that he says "are analogous to language; these objects are reassembled to create new meaning." Other works by Helbing can be found in Chicago.
Icarus is a sculpture of forged steel (100 in. x 68 in. x 16 in.) by artist Brent Kington of Makanda, Ill. The piece stands, its abstract wings spread, on its stone base in the northwest corner of the courtyard at the Medical Instructional Facility, 801 N. Rutledge, Springfield. A trained silversmith, Kington began working with blacksmithing in 1964. Subsequently, he developed a model metalsmithing program as a faculty member at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He has become a national leader in the field and helped blacksmithing become a contemporary art form.
Night Veils is an aluminum sculpture (10 ft. x 7 ft. x 7 ft.) by artist Jerry Peart of Ashland, Va. This piece is located near the northeast corner of the Springfield Combined Laboratory Facility, 825 N. Rutledge, Springfield.
The ribbons of blue are intertwined physically and seem to glow at nightfall. The artist explains that this piece is about harmony and a sense of painless escape. “Since the sculpture is located at the School of Medicine, I didn't want it to be startling or foreboding but reflect some mystery and a sense of being taken care of; this is what I have in mind when I think medicine.” A former teaching fellow at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Peart specializes in site-specific, large-scale abstract works and has created more than 35, which are located across the United States. Peart says that he is “guided by the belief that the artist not only has to provide an answer but must also pose the question.”