Newly Installed Sculpture Reflects University’s Focus on Faith and Art

Feb. 25, 2015 By Jenna Bartlo

LA MIRADA, CALIF. — Biola University will officially celebrate its newest piece of public art — a twisting, bright red sculpture made from bronze-cast apple tree limbs — at a dedication ceremony on March 9. The permanent sculpture, titled “True Vine,” is the second piece installed this year as part of a public arts initiative.


The artist, Theodore Prescott, was inspired by teachings in Scripture referencing vines that reveal a life dependent on Christ — particularly John 15, in which Jesus identifies himself as the True Vine.


“My goal has been to make a beautiful and striking piece of contemporary art that speaks visually and poetically to the viewer about the mysterious living reality found in Christ’s words and his cross,” said Prescott.


The bright red sculpture is funded by the Long Family Foundation, which also funded “The Spirit of Christ” sculpture installed on campus in September 2014. “True Vine” is located on the elevator shaft wall in front of Talbot East — a home to Biola’s Talbot School of Theology — and is designed to interact with the form and volume of the shaft.


Prescott used apple tree limbs to construct the “True Vine” sculpture. He has done a number of apple limb constructions since 2008, harvesting approximately 2,500 feet of limbs for use. After harvesting, the limbs are peeled, dried and sorted according to thickness and types of shapes.


“It may take days to find the right combination of elements,” said Prescott. “Once I have determined the character of the line, I join the limbs, and carve and grind the joints to make a seamless form.”


One of Prescott’s concerns in developing “True Vine” was the sculpture’s permanence. In order to achieve his vision for durability and endurance, he had the limbs cast in bronze, and then painted red at a custom car shop near Biola’s campus, incorporating the car culture of Southern California.


“This new sculpture has an exciting and bold physical presence that is decidedly contemporary and continues to expand the beautiful diversity of public art works represented on our campus,” said Jeff Rau, Biola’s public arts curator.


The sculpture will be dedicated on Monday, March 9, at 10:30 a.m. at the Talbot East building. The event is free and open to the public.


Prescott is a sculptor and writer who lives and works near Harrisburg, Penn., and whose work has been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe. He received a bachelor’s degree in art from The Colorado College and a master’s degree in fine art from the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Prescott was one of the founders of the national organization Christians in the Visual Arts, served as its third president, and edited its triennial publication for more than a decade. His articles have appeared in several publications, including American Arts Quarterly, Image, and The New Criterion. His forms of work are related to modernists sculpture, but his subject matter often draws on the beliefs and ideas found in the Christian tradition.


Prescott will deliver a lecture the night of the dedication at 6:30 p.m. in Moats Auditorium. He is available for interviews upon request.


For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, media relations specialist, at (562) 777-4061 or jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu

 

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