For the past fifteen years I have been working on a series of sculptures entitled The Temple Series. The Series continuity is the product, largely, of a trip I made to Haiti some years ago. While in Haiti I encountered numerous works of art, which expressed the deep spiritual, cultural, and political struggles Haitians have undergone over the course of the twentieth century. But these works also revealed how art can transcend the everyday, can lift one above the rawness of brutality and social strife, and can offer a space governed by calmness that can, in turn, allow for the kind of reflection that leads to social awareness and social change. In other words, what became clear in the Haitian works I observed was how sculpture can lift one out of the immediacy of his or her context not as pure escapism, but for spiritual, social, and political effect. One was lifted out and offered the contemplative room to see and imagine how things could be different.
My hope in The Temple Series is to capture this same process of produced reflection, which can invoke in the viewer a sense of sacred space, of retreating, of reflection, and of the need to take active charge of his or her destiny.
Rev. Austin I. Collins, C.S.C.
Father Collins is a professor of sculpture at the University of Notre Dame.
Fern Temple IV, 2012, Austin Collins (American, b. XX), steel, 27’ x 6’ x 6’, On Loan from the Artist (photograph predates installation within Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park)