Sept. 19, 2011

New art on campus

Calgary artist Reinhard Skoracki reveals “Nature is an Eternal Mystery"
Reinhard Skoracki, an alumni from the University of Calgary’s Fine Arts Department, is honoured to contribute to the campus.

Reinhard Skoracki, an alumni from the Fine Arts Department, is honoured to contribute to the campus.

Dave Brown

An eager crowd of students, artists, faculty, staff, engineers, gallery owners, art collectors and curious passers-by gathered outside the new Energy, Environment, Experiential Learning (EEEL) building and cheered as an impressive 4.87-metre tall sculpture by Calgary artist Reinhard Skoracki was unveiled to launch this year’s Artwalk on Friday, Sept. 16.

Artwalk host Christine Klassen from the Weiss Gallery welcomed visitors to the event, the first time Artwalk has launched on campus in its 27-year history. Klassen, an alumni from the University of Calgary’s Fine Arts Department, was pleased to see the renewed interest in public art on campus and looks forward to future collaboration. She recalled her time as art student when her class was toured around campus by instructor Ron Kostyniuk and how impressed they were by the amazing art all around them.

Jon Greggs, director of campus planning and program director of the EEEL project pointed to the important presence art gives to a campus and to the campus experience.

“Art, whatever the form, raises our consciousness, appeals to the soul, and creates statements about our society. Art provokes interaction, questions, and responses,” he said. “Pragmatically artworks can also form landmarks and aid wayfinding.” Greggs and Donna Livingstone of Libraries and Cultural Resources are re-invigorating the public art on campus program. A self-guided walking tour of some of the outstanding art pieces on campus was made available during Artwalk and will be available over the fall online.

The newest work, entitled “Nature is an Eternal Mystery” will be an iconic piece of public art in the city, says Deborah Herringer of Herringer Kiss Gallery who represents the artist Reinhard Skoracki. Originally from German, Skoracki is a graduate of the University of Calgary. Skoracki said he is honoured to contribute to the campus and was pleased to think his piece will be seen by so many students.

The Skoracki sculpture and three other impressive works were commissioned specifically for the EEEL building through the project funding. Greggs said that the works were designed specifically for the spaces they occupy and speak to the themes of the building. Skoracki’s piece speaks to humanity’s relationship to nature, while David Burdeny’s huge back-lit photograph at the top of the wide staircase looks at the isolated beauty and fragility of Antarctica. Marjan Eggermon’s soaring steel panels are etched with a delicate tree formation and Angela Leach’s colourful diptychs at the entrance provide playful energy.

The University of Calgary campus is a large gallery of interactive public art. From the lucky spin students give to Katie Ohe’s iconic “Zipper” before an exam to the call “I’ll meet you at the Prairie Chicken” art on campus is both an inspiration and a warm part of campus life.