New sculpture installation on the Arts Plaza

L-R: Laura Stewart, Caroline Bastian, Liz Mullenix, Robert Wicks, Rob Robbins, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Heidi McWilliams, Jason Shaiman.
L-R: Laura Stewart, Caroline Bastian, Liz Mullenix, Robert Wicks, Rob Robbins, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Heidi McWilliams, Jason Shaiman. Photo: Sherri Krazl

Internationally-known artist brings new work to campus

artist Ursula von RydingsvardRenowned sculpture artist Ursula von Rydingsvard at the installation site of her new piece, "Heart in Hand."
new sculpture"Heart in Hand," 2017. Bronze.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, November 8, 2017, a group of the Miami Arts community and other passersby gathered around the newly landscaped area surrounding the Schiewetz Arts Plaza. The spectators marveled at the large crane that hoisted a sculpture in mid air, strapped into a cradle, and hovered directly over the foundation where it would be bolted into place. With that, Miami University gained a new addition to the growing collection of public sculpture art across campus.

The work, entitled "Heart in Hand," 2017, was created by celebrated sculpture artist, Ursula von Rydingsvard and recently donated by Miami alumnus, Thomas W. Smith '50. Smith previously donated a sculpture by Mark DiSuvero, "For Kepler," 1995, installed in the Art Museum sculpture park.

Ursula von Rydingsvard was on campus and at the installation site to determine the precise orientation of the new piece. "The sculpture is meant to be appreciated up close," von Rydingsvard said. She commented that the texture of the bronze preserves the natural wood grain and markings left by the circular saw that she used to create the wooden original. She noted that the patina would mellow and darken with exposure to the elements over time.

Once landscaping around the work is completed, a formal dedication of the new sculpture to include Ursula von Rydingsvard and donor Thomas W. Smith will take place sometime in the spring of 2018.

Over her four-decade career, Ursula von Rydingsvard has become one of the most influential postwar sculptors working today. She is best known for creating large-scale, often monumental sculpture from cedar beams, which she painstakingly cuts, assembles, and laminates, finally rubbing powdered graphite into the work’s textured, faceted surfaces. Her signature abstract shapes refer to things in the real world—vessels, bowls, tools, and other objects—each revealing the mark of the human hand while also summoning natural forms and forces. In recent years, von Rydingsvard has explored other mediums in depth, particularly bronze, continuing to expand upon her unique artistic vocabulary.

Von Rydingsvard’s work is represented in the permanent collections of over 30 museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minnesota; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Missouri; Storm King Art Center, New York; and Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan. She has presented major solo exhibitions at numerous institutions, most recently at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England. Permanent commissioned sculptures by von Rydingsvard are on view in multiple public locations including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Microsoft Corporation, Washington; Princeton University, New Jersey; Bloomberg Corporation, New York; and Barclays Center, New York; among others. A solo exhibition of von Rydinsgvard’s work will be held at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Pennsylvania in December 2017.

Von Rydingsvard was born 1942 in Deensen, Germany. She has lived and worked in New York City for over 40 years.