New Sayre sculpture coming to UHV campus

Houston artist Tom Sayre’s “Contemplation” sculpture soon will be installed on the UHV campus.

The University of Houston-Victoria soon will showcase the work of Houston artist Tom Sayre with the installation of “Contemplation,” a painted steel sculpture that is part of the Public Art of the UH System collection.

“Texas and regional artists are important to UHV and the Victoria community, and this significant outdoor sculpture will be a welcome addition to our campus landscape,” UHV President Bob Glenn said.

“Contemplation” is a 1976 sculpture featuring a series of cylinders connected by rectangular beams. The 99-by-288-by-132-inch black sculpture previously was installed in front of the UH Graduate School of Social Work. An appropriate location at UHV for this artwork still is being discussed, Glenn said.

“Along with Margo Sawyer’s ‘Synchronicity of Color-Victoria,’ unveiled in 2018, the planned re-siting of Tom Sayre’s ‘Contemplation’ foreshadows an ambitious plan to bring exemplary Texas-based and regional art to UHV,” said María C. Gaztambide, Public Art UHS director and chief curator. “We are committed to working with UHV leadership in building on existing core artworks, including both of these fine sculptures, to enhance community and campus connectivity through art. Our long-term vision includes focusing on Hispanic and Latinx artists, as well as transforming UHV into a significant arts destination for the enjoyment of visitors, the academic community and the city of Victoria alike.”

Sayre has contributed to the development of contemporary art in Texas and public art in the U.S., Gaztambide said. His work comes from the Constructivist tradition, a movement that began in Russia in the early 1900s reflecting modern industrial society and rejecting decorative motifs. It also is related to movements that emerged in the middle decades of the 20th century, including Minimalism.

Sayre’s seemingly simple geometric forms and compositions are about volume, tension, balance and movement, she said. The overall black color allows the viewer to focus solely on these forms and their relationship to each other as well as to the sculpture’s relationship to its environment.

As part of the project, the “Millennium Plaza” sculpture, created by San Antonio sculptor and light artist Bill FitzGibbons, was removed from the UHV campus earlier this month because of the prohibitive cost of repairing the artwork. It was commissioned in 2001 and installed outside the UHV University Center.

The jaX the jaguar plate-steel sculpture located behind the University Center also was removed temporarily but will be relocated on the campus once a suitable location is found, Glenn said. The life-sized jaguar sculpture was created in 1973 by Victoria artist Harold Nichols and was donated to the university in 2009.

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