Arts and Entertainment

Sculpture is Hidden in Plain Site


You most likely walk by Anatomy Vessel at least once a day as you make your way to classes at the UC Blue Ash campus.  Located on the green between Muntz and Walters Halls, this sculpture is hard to miss because of its central location and enormous size.

At first glance, one could easily mistake this giant aluminum structure for an electric tower because of its height and metallic silver sheen, but Anatomy Vessel is actually a sculpture created by Indiana-based artist, Eric Nordgulen. This work of art has been a fixture on the UCBA green since the sculpture’s dedication in 2001.

Anatomy Vessel is open on two sides.  This feature, along with its large size, enables observers to stand beneath it and look upward toward the sky or actually walk through the sculpture from one side to another. This makes Anatomy Vessel a sculpture in which one can take part, not merely view.  The piece is made up of silver, branch-like curved poles, connected to supportive posts that resemble a spine, which together create a cylindrical structure.

There are four lights imbedded into the foundation of the structure.  Unfortunately, these fixtures are currently not operational.  According to Robert Knarr, Director of Facilities & Campus Planning at UCBA, the fixtures filled with water due to an original flaw in design, and the electrical components were ruined.  A contractor is set to review them soon, and hopefully they can be either repaired or replaced. To see this sculpture by day is not nearly as impressive as viewing it at night when the aluminum structure gleams up against a contrasting dark night sky.  Even without the electric lighting, the structure looks truly magnificent at night.

Anatomy Vessel is part of a larger series of works by Nordgulen, all with the same name.  Sculptures within this same series can currently be found on the campuses of the University of Indianapolis and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where Nordgulen is an associate professor of sculpture at the Herron School of Art and Design.

The sculptures in Nordgulen’s Anatomy Vessel series include representations of nature—branches or trees.  Looking up at the sculpture at UCBA, I can see a network of branches that resemble blood vessels branching out and running throughout the human body, or perhaps strands of DNA twisted together.

The next time you happen to be walking by Anatomy Vessel, take a closer look.  Rather than just walking by, walk through.  What does this thought-provoking structure bring to mind for you?


About Vanessa Peterman

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