The Tom Otterness installation, in a new sculpture garden enhancing the entrance to the University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, marked the gallery’s 100th anniversary in October 2013. Following a two-year search for an American artist of “meaningful, engaging and accessible work” (April 2010 University of Rochester press release), Otterness’ proposal won with its sense of wonder.
An internationally known artist of public art, Otterness’ work communicates deftly, often subliminally, to everyman. He’s been labeled the “quintessential public artist for the postmodern age” by Vince Carducci, in the magazine Sculpture (April 2005). His work has been called both “comic book” and “subversive,” and its themes range from the quest for justice to pure whimsy.
The separate pieces of his installation convey the “flux and change” of a sculpture studio, according to Otterness, who was inspired by “the ancient idea of bringing a sculpture to life.” The artist says he chose Indiana limestone because he wanted the installation to have a visual connection with the museum, built of the same stone.
Following the success of the installation, Tom Otterness' work – of the same "Creation Myth" series though not the actual limestone figures at Rochester – was exhibited at the world renowned Marlborough Gallery in New York City.