Marfa students mount sculptural exhibition on Friday

Photo courtesy of the Chinati Foundation / Esdras Flores sprays joint compound and paint texture on the large scale giraffe sculpture he made with classmate Zach Wilson (not shown.)

MARFA – Godzilla! Minnie Mouse! A life-size baby giraffe! Sculpture! Come celebrate the community of Marfa ISD’s artists at a reception and showing of their fabulous, fantastical sculptural work, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Friday, May 14, at Martin Field. Refreshments will be safely served and some of the artists will be on hand. All are welcome and encouraged to attend and asked to wear a mask.

This reception is the culmination of a project that began in February, when Marfa ISD art teacher Adele Powers, the Chinati Foundation education team and Marfa ISD partnered on a deep dive into the elements of sculpture. A total of 59 students were involved, including about a dozen who participated remotely from home. The Chinati educators made regular visits to campus, sometimes several times a week, collaborating and teaching alongside Powers in her classroom.

“We started with making folded paper sculptures,” said Michael Roch, Chinati’s education director. “We moved on to casting plaster and incorporating found objects and cardboard. Some of these sculptures are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Others are so large that they had to be finished in pieces and assembled and completed in Hunter Gym. Their work is amazing stuff, and I think the students are also amazed at the results.”

Working at a large scale had its challenges. For many of the students, this project was their first opportunity to ever make art that is as sizable as their imaginations. Informing their process was a visit to Chinati to see Donald Judd’s large-scale objects in aluminum and concrete, and Coosje van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburgs’s Monument to the Last Horse sculpture. The off-campus trip, said art teacher Powers, was a much-needed change of routine for students. “It was so fun to get the students out of the classroom –– first on a visit to the Chinati Foundation, and then into the Hunter Gym, where their creations grew and transformed from plain old cardboard to these colorful, beautiful, vibrant sculptures!”

The museum typically holds a Community Day celebration in the spring. “This year,” said Roch, “with the pandemic in mind, the museum has chosen to celebrate the community of Marfa’s young artists. Their work is just terrific. Please join us this Friday to have some fun and support their efforts.”