Wearable Art event gives students the stage, live reactions

Connor Stump participates in Herron's Wearable Art event.View print quality image
Connor Stump, a freshman in the Herron School of Art and Design, displays his mask made of papier-mache, feathers, bamboo and welding rods. Photo by Liz Kaye, IU Communications

Lindsey Nevins' usual artwork is created alone in her bedroom.

The newest work from the junior in the Herron School of Art and Design's sculpture program was in front of -- and over -- hundreds of people crammed into the Eskenazi Fine Art Center's foundry. Nevins ventured into performance art at March 8's Wearable Art and Sculpture Exhibition: She started the annual show dangling from a hook that's usually used to move vats of molten aluminum to cast metal sculpture.

Nevins was suspended over the catwalk and then above the crowd. She was tied up in red ropes in a bondage style, wearing an all-black costume to help the ropes' intricate design stand out.

Description of the following video:

Video transcript

"Herron Wearable Art and Sculpture Exhibition 2018" on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpuWHAamQjo&feature=youtu.be


[Video: IUPUI presents bug]

[Video: Various shots of Herron students on a runway]

[Carlie Foreman speaks: The Wearable show is full of gallery performance and wearable art. It brings art in all dimensions. So we like to showcase, this year especially, majors from all Herron focuses, and we're utilizing virtually the whole building. So it's really amazing to bring you guys, the public, and the community into our workspace and our foundry.]

[Video: Lindsey Nevins dangles above the Wearable Art crowd]

[Nevins speaks: I decided to learn how to suspend myself in rope and yes, it's what I'm doing, flying down the runway. It's really different because normally my art is, like, by myself in my room, so this is really weird having to get up in front of a bunch of people and do a thing and be like "Here's my thing."

So, it's different, yeah.]

[Video: A shot of a bigfoot clay bust.]

[Jill Ziegler speaks: This show actually just is the highlight of, like, stepping into the sculpture department. It's a lot of fun to be a part of it and finally being a part of the building and with a department that I'm not used to being with. Early on in my Herron career, I brought Bigfoot into my artwork because I loved zoology, and Bigfoot is more of a legend that I think we can relate to here in Indiana.]

[Video: Connor Stump onstage]

[Student speaks: It's pretty light in the back where all the interesting parts are bamboo, like big long bamboo scales, then supported by curved welding rods, which is what makes it super heavy because it's all copper and steel trying to pull my head back. So, it's my forcing my mouth shut, it's a pretty grueling experience trying to wear that thing for so long.

Not as scary as I thought it would be; most of the nerves came beforehand. It's a lot of fun being able to hear and see people react.]

[Words appear: IUPUI Fulfilling the Promise, iupui.edu]


[End of transcript]

The March 8 event at Eskenazi Fine Art Center featured exhibits and a runway show of new artwork by Herron students that could be worn on the catwalk.

"It's really weird to get up in front of a bunch of people and do a thing," Nevins said before the event. "I learned how to suspend myself in rope, and it's what I'm doing -- flying down the runway."

The catwalk staging, lights and a DJ transformed the usually industrial foundry into a more glamorous space. Hundreds -- ranging from toddlers to senior citizens, students to faculty members -- clamored for a view of the students' often outrageous works.

The wearable art ranged from actual gowns to a clay bigfoot bust contained in a cage and worn on the back of a student while strutting on the catwalk. One student crawled around with a makeshift artificial leg, and two students teamed up for a nightmarish scenario that featured an old television turned into a mask, a wheelchair, a burlap sack as another mask, and bizarre tubes connecting here and there.

Carlie Foreman, a senior studying sculpture who is president of the Herron Sculpture Club and was an organizer of the event, said the goal of the 2018 show was to be more inclusive with other Herron programs. Drawing, illustration and ceramics majors bought in.

Jill Ziegler, an integrative studio practice senior, was happy to show off her Bigfoot series of busts. She "caged" one beast, strapped it to her back, and dressed like a cryptozoologist Red Riding Hood. She also showed several bigfeet in one of the few galleries within the fine art center that were open before, during and after the show.

Jill Ziegler shows her artwork onstage.View print quality image
Jill Ziegler, a senior in the Herron School of Art and Design, pays tribute to Bigfoot at the 2018 Wearable Art and Sculpture Exhibition. Photo by Liz Kaye, IU Communications

"I wore my Bigfoot T-shirts all through school, and I've kind of become the Bigfoot lady," said Ziegler with a laugh, noting that she started the nine-piece bust series last fall to mark the 50th anniversary of the famous, shaky sasquatch film footage. "I plan on doing some bigger sculptures, and I've integrated them into metals."

Drawing and illustration major Connor Stump's Wearable experience got him thinking about adding a sculpture minor or even switching majors. His otherworldly papier-maché mask contained heavy welding rods and bamboo shoots underneath. The mask, his black suit and the black feathers he handed out during his performance were an offshoot of a suspended sculpture series called "Looming." The low-hanging mobile piece contains more black feathers and was created to make the viewer a bit uneasy. Tall viewers might hit their head on a feather, but, as the name suggests, the piece is supposed to be a black chaos hanging overhead.

Afterward, Stump said the mask had to be cut off to be removed, but the experience was worth it.

"It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. Most of the nerves came beforehand," he said. "It's a lot of fun being able to hear and see people react."

Herron students brought a wide range of designs to the runway at the Wearable Art and Sculpture Exhibition, which took place March 8 at the Eskenazi Fine Arts Center. All photos by Liz Kaye, IU Communications

Now showing at Herron

New York artist Zilvinas Kempinas' latest installation work will show through April 21 in the Berkshire, Reese and Paul Galleries inside the Herron School of Art and Design's Eskenazi Hall.

Description of the following video:

Video transcript

"Zilvinas Kempinas at Herron" on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pG90svJ-RDA


[Video: Pieces in the Berkshire, Reese and Paul Galleries inside the Herron School of Art and Design's Eskenazi Hall. IUPUI Presents bug appears.]

[Zilvinas Kempinas speaks: I made a bunch of works with magnetic tape. It has reflections, and it's super-light. It's very thin. Of course, it relates with memory with the past, with the way we try to record something. And ironically, it's about to disappear as well.]

[Video: Shots of Kempinas' work with ball bearings]

[Zilvinas speaks: Everybody's trying different things, and they're exploring already.

New generations, there's no limits of any kind, and they are not trapped in only painting or only sculpture. They can do anything they want, and they know that. It's just a matter of how efficient you use these materials.

[Words appear: IUPUI Fulfilling the Promise, iupui.edu]


[End of transcript]

Zilvinas Kempinas utilizes plaster, tiny ball bearings, VHS tape and other interesting materials in his pieces. The New York artist's work is showing now through April 21 in Eskenazi Hall.

Kempinas specializes in creating illusion and changing the viewer's perception. His largest piece, "V Formation," contains thousands of feet of VHS tape. The 232 strips of tape each measure the length of the gallery, 112 feet. Hung tightly together with geometric placing, the tape seems to shimmer and change shape as the viewer walks around and underneath the massive work. 

Kempinas also utilizes tape in "0." The piece consists of a loop of smaller camcorder tape suspended against the wall by nothing but the wind of a small electric fan in front of it.

"It's very light and very thin," said Kempinas on working with magnetic tape. "Of course, it relates to memory, with the past, with the way we try to record something. Ironically, it's about to disappear as well."

The exhibit also contains wall pieces, Kempinas' newest work. The pieces of the "Electrical Stars" series are abstract sculptures of cast resin and wire. The lines of wire are all straight while creating a circular star pattern. The pieces are lit to give them cosmic appeal.