MOA shows off outdoor sculpture

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    By Kaye Nelson

    A big hunk of metal is as interesting as a big hunk of metal, unless you take the time to understand the story behind it.

    The Museum of Art on the BYU campus is currently renovating the Memorial Garden outside of the museum, and has recently installed some new metal sculptures on the grounds. When the renovation is complete, sculptures will surround the building with both permanent and changing displays.

    An eye-catching, bright red sculpture of aluminum called “Sefa II,” by Frank Riggs, just joined the silent sentinels outside the MOA.

    “Since it”s red and on a hill, the sweeping curve of the metal stands out even more,” said Chris Wilson, public relations manager for the MOA.

    Made of several geometric shapes, the red sculpture is up for personal interpretation. The sculptor, however, explained why he favors the color red.

    “I found that red is a great color for the shapes I work with,” Riggs said. “It shows strong against a background of brown or green.”

    His love of sports cars also influenced the color choice for this piece.

    “I was really into sports cars at that time [when he sculpted “Sefa II”] and the color is ”porche red,”” Riggs said. “It”s a stronger red than fire engine red – it has a little orange in it which really brings it out.”

    Riggs said he doesn”t know what the word “Sefa” means, but he liked it, so he used it. The model created before the larger structure was called “Sefa I” so the final sculpture was named “Sefa II.” Riggs” earlier sculptures went through phases before the final piece was finished.

    “Originally I started on paper sketching ideas,” Riggs said. “Each piece went through a regular process. Now the pieces are strictly on-the-spot developments.”

    Some people might wonder why large art sculptures such as “Sefa II” are placed next to buildings or other structures.

    “Pieces like these work well as architectural embellishment,” said Herman du Toit, head of museum research at the MOA. “When you see a piece near a building, they compliment each other.”

    In Riggs” early years as an artist, he experimented with different forms of media. Hundreds of BYU students and faculty walk by an earlier piece of his every day. “Windows of Heaven,” a 30-foot-high welded metal frame with stained glass inserts was installed between the Clyde and Widstoe buildings in the ”70s, and contrasts with his later “Sefa II” piece.

    Abstract interpretive art doesn”t always intrigue people, but the MOA sculpture garden focuses on diversity of style.

    “Abstract art and sculpture is something that some people don”t like,” Wilson said. “Our vision statement encourages people to take time to think about different art to try to understand it better.”

    Other sculptures in the MOA gardens include Karl Momen”s “The Temple of Mercury,” a stainless steel ball braced by two bronze obelisks.

    “Some of our sculptures are by pretty well-known artists,” Wilson said. “The one outside the museum with the ball in the middle was done by Karl Momen who did the Tree of Utah sculpture on the road to Wendover.”

    The museum is constantly trying to educate people by the diversity of art shown in and around the MOA.

    “There is a scripture that ”the truth will set you free,”” du Toit said. “Education also sets you free. Unfortunately, not everyone has the education in this field to appreciate what they see.”

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