Lunch and learn series continues to talk public sculpture

Visiting artist Kathyrose Pizzo discusses a sculpture installed at the Michigan Legacy Park and her own experiences in public art. Vanguard Photo | Nicole Vogelpohl

The Marshall M. Fredericks Museum continued its Lunch and Learn series on Wednesday, Oct. 16, with a lecture focusing on public sculpture.

The museum welcomed Kathyrose Pizzo as she spoke about the creative process of public sculpture.

Kathyrose Pizzo, an artist from Metro Detroit, earned an MFA in sculpture from Wayne State University and a BFA in painting from the Art Institute of Chicago. Her public works are primarily steel and cast metals.

Currently, she teaches sculpture and foundations courses at Wayne State University.

Pizzo discussed the way public sculpture is done and how it is displayed. She also discussed her process in creating a large outdoor sculpture.

Pizzo said she welds, casts and bolts metal together to create her works. Some of her works are up to 12 feet tall.

“The struggles are the weight factor and where to store things,” she said.

Pizzo talked about how she sits on the collections committee for the Legacy Art Park in Thompsonville.

The park is home to approximately 40 works of art and focuses on nature and Michigan history. By sitting on the committee, Pizzo helps determine what works go into the park.

“Our job for the collections committee is mainly to look at proposals and see if those proposals are suitable and match the criteria,” she said.

Pizzo noted that the park is different from most sculpture parks in that it is more rugged than other parks. The park is located in the woods, so that is a consideration when picking additions.

Another consideration is the focus on featuring Michigan artists with pieces that highlight Michigan history. Pizzo had a sculpture in the park for a short period of time. She had fabricated it out of steel and cast aluminum.

“The piece is called ‘Lake Cloud Sky,’” Pizzo said. “I really felt that the aluminum could act as the reflective water.”

Pizzo also discussed the process of making things sound. She has made pieces that required strategic work to keep them stable and to move them.

“I’ve made work that is 10 to 12 feet high,” Pizzo said. “I had to use lots of chains to hoist things up, especially when I was welding.”

Pizzo began working with public art because it was a way to explore different ideas, not just in studio practice. She said she likes the malleability of metal.

“You can do lots of stuff with it,” she said. “You can add it, take away the material … It’s really malleable.”

Melissa Vennix
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