LAWRENCE — A sculpture created by a 2011 University of Kansas graduate is considered among the best contemporary student works in North America, according to the International Sculpture Center.
David Platter, who received a master’s degree of fine arts last spring, was one of 15 students chosen from a pool of 485 for the center’s Outstanding Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. His sculpture, a massive bust that is suspended upside-down, will be exhibited at the Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey now through April 2012.
Platter is the second student from the KU to be awarded this prestigious prize. Andrew Hadle, a KU student who won in 2006, is now a graduate student at the University of Arizona pursuing his master’s of fine arts. The International Sculpture Center established the Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award program in 1994 to recognize deserving sculpture students and to encourage their continued commitment to the field of sculpture.
Platter’s sculpture, “Charting the Self,” weighs 700 pounds and is 8 feet tall. It was chosen by a jury of three artists as exemplifying outstanding student work in the realm of contemporary sculpture. Platter’s work was exhibited in the KU Art and Design gallery as part of his spring 2010 thesis show, also titled “Charting the Self.” He produced the work over the course of seven months in a loft at the West Bottoms in Kansas City, Mo.
Platter says his work “attempts to understand the nature of physical being in relation to the void — our uncertain capacity for something beyond the verifiable. Questioning the power of the mind and seeking evidence of something greater than oneself are at the core of my process. Through metaphors of time, like falling through space and the mind as a vessel, I address the essence of ‘what it is to be.’”
Platter’s faculty sponsors, John Hachmeister, Matthew Burke and Jon Swindell, combined have more than 60 years’ experience teaching undergraduate and graduate students in sculpture.
The International Sculpture Center has additional ties to KU. Elden Tefft, retired KU sculpture professor, founded the center at KU in the mid-1960s. The center is now based in Washington, D.C.
The KU sculpture program provides a well-rounded studio experience involving both traditional and experimental techniques. In addition to regular courses in metal casting, wood carving/fabrication and metal fabrication, students are encouraged to work with site-specific and installation genres.
The sculpture program is part of the Department of Visual Art in the KU School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.