Untitled (Hummingbird) is the latest installment of S.P.A.C.E. (Sculpture Pad Art Collaborative Experiment), a public art initiative co-organized by Plains Art Museum and the art departments at Concordia College, Minnesota State University Moorhead, and North Dakota State University. In this series, students create models of sculptures for the pad, which are displayed in the Museum’s Landfield Atrium. After visitors vote for their favorite model, the students—under the direction of their schools’ sculpture professors, fabricate a full-size version and install it in early spring. S.P.A.C.E. rotates between the schools, and MSUM spearheaded Untitled (Hummingbird).
Derived from a model created by Maranda Peterson, Untitled (Hummingbird) depicts a hummingbird in flight. Peterson was inspired by the Pollinator Garden, which was installed around the sculpture pad and other parts of the Museum campus in the summer of 2014. Intended to contribute to the site aesthetically, the hummingbird—a pollinator—also marks the function of the garden space, addressing issues about the purpose of art and land stewardship.
Supervised by MSUM Professor of Sculpture Chris Walla and Shop Manager Ken Brown Peterson, Peterson and fellow students Olivia Bain, Jill Gandrud, Lucas Schult, and Jess Suppa made Untitled (Hummingbird). This group of seven artists worked collaboratively, each contributing a unique set of ideas and skills, to transform Peterson’s model from a geometric-shaped metal profile of a hummingbird to a monumental painted steel sculpture with a curvilinear, organic shape. They also decided to adorn the bird’s negative spaces, which create the illusion of lightness and movement, with multicolored ropes and jewel-toned pieces of Plexiglas and to mount the sculpture in an active, diagonal pose. This angle not only infuses the sculpture with energy but also illuminates the contrast between its vibrant form and the Museum’s plain brick exterior.