Totems debut at Cesar Chavez Student Center
February 28, 2008 12:40 PM
Five aluminum “totems” now lean against a curving wall of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, a new sculpture unveiled in a casual ceremony today.
The sculpture, “Ode to Hank by Terry: Twenty After Midnight,” is a reincarnation of the similar structure that decorated the wall for 20 years, according to information from the unveiling.
The original work of previous resident artist Hank De Ricco, made mostly of wood, had deteriorated beyond repair, and officials decided that the only way to preserve the art was to recreate it.
“We’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” said Guy Dalpe, managing director of the student center.
Creator Terry Marashlian, an instructor and former student of SF State, said he wanted to take the previous work in a new direction while still preserving the original artist’s vision.
“I meant them to be way more architectural,” he said, using his choice to expose the mounting at the base of the sculptures as an example. Marashlian consulted students and faculty to narrow down the bright, visible aesthetic for the piece.
Unlike the previous piece, called “Midnight Hour,” Marashlian said his sculpture focuses more on the forms themselves than telling a specific story. An observer might think that the previous sculpture was simply leaned against the wall by some character, but the new version is clearly attached to the student center.
Most of the construction occurred in the SF State sculpture studio. The pieces are more than 20-feet long and took up much of the space said sculpture department head Francisco Perez.
“We worked around them,” laughed Perez.
Some of the work done outside of SF State included powder coating parts of the sculpture, a process that bonds paint to metal. The result was not without its problems, Marashlian said.
“I was under the impression that powder coating was bullet-proof,” he said, but a stain left by some bird droppings alerted Marashlian to the need for a highly resistant coating to the finished panels.
Using state-of-the-art materials like powerful bonding tape and special rivets, Marashlian said that he expects the piece to last a long time.
One observer, 25-year-old American Studies student Carly Tirre, has been at SF State since 2001 and said she remembers the old sculptures.
“It’s nice to think you’ve seen a bit of the history of these,” she said, approving of the new pieces.
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