South Bend Prairie II

Jake Fernandez (Cuban-American, b. 1951), <em>South Bend Prairie II</em>, 2015, photo collage on Cannon paper. Acquired with funds provided by Humana Foundation Endowment for American Art, 2015.074

Jake Fernandez (Cuban-American, b. 1951), South Bend Prairie II, 2015, photo collage on Cannon paper. Acquired with funds provided by Humana Foundation Endowment for American Art, 2015.074

Scholz Family Works on Paper Gallery January 31 through February 26, 2017

This focus exhibition features two works by artist Jake Fernandez.

Fernandez visited the University of Notre Dame in 2015 to lecture and to meet with faculty and students within the Department of Art, Art History & Design.  While on campus, Fernandez became interested in the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park at Notre Dame.  Specifically, he was intrigued by the prairie-grass.

Fernandez took numerous photographs of prairie grass specimens within the Sculpture Park.  Those images were cut and reorganized into a photo collage, which he then utilized as the basis for a drawing. 

Fernandez describes this project, and his larger output, as follows:

This prairie and park have undergone radical changes and this is a composite record of that transformation.  My work could be classified as durational as most of it evolves gradually over long periods of time.  My interests include a wide range of subjects, from composite renderings of a specific locale, to the graphic telemetry connected to a specific performance, event, condition, or state of mind.

My attempt is to channel forms that are ephemeral and in the periphery of our human perception, and through intuition attempt to codify and cypher the mystery of the never-seen. 

The eight-acre Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park is currently undergoing a final, phase-two expansion.  The theme of the Sculpture Park is Reclaiming our Nature.  This not only refers to the creative transformation of an historic landfill to a wetland, prairie, and park, but also to the sculptures installed there, which celebrate nature and express humankind’s universal desire for spiritual transcendence.

The Museum engaged celebrated American landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh to reimagine the site.  During the summer of 2016, a central valley and berms were added for the display of sculptures.  This coming spring additional lighted and paved pathways will be added; more limestone seating elements will be installed; trees, shrubs, and meadows will be planted; a main entrance will be created at the corner of Angela Boulevard and Eddy Street; and a natural stone amphitheater will be constructed for concerts, poetry readings, and tour groups.

When reopened to the public, the sculptures on view in the park will  include the currently installed, Griffon (1989) by David Hayes, Little Seed (2007) by Peter Randall-Page, Two Lines Oblique (1967) by George Rickey, Single Winged Figure on Plinth (2010) by Stephen De Staebler, as well as the reinstallation of Richard Hunt’s Maquette for Wing Generator (1982/2010) and both of the Deborah Butterfield horse sculptures currently on view at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. They will be joined by a Jaume Plensa sculpture recently acquired by Snite Museum of Art Advisory Council members Bill and Julie Ballard, and the creation of a commissioned, site-specific, public artwork by Philip Rickey.