Leaf Fountain: senior art major exhibit

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Sculpture is Leaf Fountain by Travis Phillips. Photo by Patrick Goodman.

A couple weeks ago, students noticed an interesting development on the hill near the Church of the Incarnation. Each day, a couple more brown-red bowls were added to a descending fountain-like structure; some thought they looked like birds, leaves, flower petals or flamingos.

“Leaf Fountain,” created by senior art major Travis Phillips, is one of four exhibits in the senior exhibitions, which Phillips explained as being “equivalent to writing a thesis” for senior art majors.

“It’s been interesting to see what people tell me they think it is,” Phillips said. “I was thinking about how leaves channel water … to the forest floor [and become] like an ecosystem.”

To properly reflect the sculpture’s inspiration, it was important to pick the perfect location.

“I wanted it to be in the shade of trees, and I wanted it to be on a slope,” Phillips said.

Although the slope had the practical benefit of making the pipes’ required-height shorter, it also mimics the sculpture’s shape.

“I was trying to break the traditional Baroque fountain,” Phillips said.

A Baroque fountain flows up and has three tiers, one of which flows downwards.

The entire art faculty judges each senior exhibition, and students must answer questions about them in a formal meeting to receive a pass or fail grade. If the project receives a failing grade, the student must stay a semester and re-do it.

Phillips has been working on his piece, which consists of over 50 aluminum-cast bowls, since September, and it took two weeks to install. Other senior art majors’ pieces are in Gorman, Haggar, and the Haggerty Art Gallery.

The senior exhibitions are expected to be taken down by May 4, but temporary exhibits by students have become permanent before, especially in the Haggerty Art Village.

“It would be nice for it to become permanent because that area needs something to beautify it,” Phillips said. “It would be a great gift I could give as a thank you for the education I received here.”

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