Metal sculpture exhibition addresses trauma and May 4 anniversary

Stephen Saracino’s “Columbine Survival Bracelet” sits in its glass display at the Center for Visual Arts gallery on Fri., Jan. 17.

Chris Ramos Student politics reporter

Contemporary metal sculptures inspired by trauma and violence will be on display for students at the Center for the Visual Arts. 

On Friday, the opening reception for “Constructed Answer” will run from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibition will be up until Feb. 28. Eleven nationally recognized artists are featured in the gallery.

On display are poignant works such as Stephen Saracino’s “Columbine Survival Bracelet,” which is made out of sterling silver and shows two revolvers facing in opposite directions as a tribute to the lives lost in the Columbine High School shooting. 

By the gallery entrance is Marilyn da Silva’s “Dwelling I.” It is a copper and brass tower-like composition with miniature stairs spiraling around it. It represents the loss that Silva felt after falling victim to a house fire. 

Meanwhile, “Objects of Mourning: Veils #5 and #6” by Renée Zettle-Sterling combines metal with fabric and is based off of Victorian practices of expressing sorrow.

Andrew Kuebeck, an assistant professor and area head of the jewelry/metals/enameling program at Kent State, said all of the metallic sculptures are made from scratch. 

“All of the pieces in the exhibition are started off as sheet metal or casting grain,” Kuebeck said.

Kuebeck and Anderson Turner, the director for the School of Art, proposed the idea of presenting works that were a response to trauma after the university asked if something could be put together for the 50th anniversary of May 4.

“Anderson and I have been planning this show for a year,” Kuebeck said. “The big push for the exhibition was about two months ago when the work was coming in.” 

The main inspiration and centerpiece of the gallery is a sterling silver commemorative medallion that was created by students at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, as a response to the May 4 shootings. The piece was presented to former Kent State president  Robert L. White on June 7, 1970.

“I think students can come here and learn a little bit about Kent State history and concepts about trauma in general,” Roza Maille, the marketing assistant for the School of Art, said. “It’s just interesting to see how that kind of feeling can be translated into artwork.” 

Free food and beverages will be provided at the opening reception. A guest speaker from the University of the Arts will be in attendance. 

“I definitely want to encourage people to come, even if they don’t come for the opening,” Maille said. “Maybe students who don’t come to the Center for the Visual Arts might be able to get a new art experience from coming here and have some connection to it, being a Kent State student.” 

Contact Chris Ramos at [email protected].