The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art hosted an art talk by Jean Shin Thursday evening to judge the museum's Out of the Box outdoor sculpture exhibition.
Shin was born in Seoul, South Korea and holds a degree from the Pratt Institute. Her work can be seen in MOMA, the Smithsonian, and even the Lexington AV-63rd St Subway Station in New York City.
Shin brought her exhibit Maize with her to display in the museum during her visit. The piece is corn stalks set up in an interactive maze and is made entirely of green two-liter bottles.
“What happens in the cornfield shouldn’t stay in the cornfield,” Shin said. “We need to think about our consumer culture, throwaway culture, specifically plastic waste, and ultimately our environment.”
Shin uses mostly discarded objects in her work as a sculptor and she has a passion for public art. This particular piece was inspired by a trip to Louisville after a flood where she saw a lot of plastic washing up onto the riverbeds.
Shin traveled to Iowa, where most of the country’s corn is farmed and she created the first installation of Maize. The community in Iowa was heavily involved in washing and cutting the bottles and Shin hopes it left a lasting impact on them in regards to their thinking about recycling and consumption.
“It’s a maze, you have the choice to go left, right, or straight, but you cannot stand still. You must make a decision just like you make the decision to consume and to recycle.”
At the end of her presentation, Shin announced her selection of winners from the Out of the Box exhibition.
“I saw Jean’s work at the Smithsonian in 2009 and I loved her. When the Out of the Box Exhibition rolled around I thought it was the perfect opportunity to invite her here, have her jury the competition and exhibit a piece” said Marilyn Laufer, director of the museum. “The artists in the exhibition are from all over the country it is an open competition and our Juror receives the submissions and selects 12 to be displayed.”
Shin selected three winners at the end of her presentation. In first place was a piece called You Are Here by Stacey Rathert. Placing second was a piece called Voice by Fumi Amano and in third place was a piece entitled Floating Identity in Auburn by Hye Yeon Nam.
The pieces that placed will be on display for the rest of the year.
“Come and interact with these pieces with curiosity and try to meet the artists when they are here,” said Shin as she encouraged everyone to come out and view the installations. “Outdoor sculpture is so much about people and places and less about the art itself.”
A student in attendance at the event Rebecca Stinson said she enjoyed the talk because of Shin’s passion for public art and the fascinating ways she created meaningful art out of everyday overlooked objects.
“Not a lot of people go to museums,” said Stinson “Public art is important because people see it just walking down the street, it's important to think about art in our day to day and to be around it.”