Thursday, August 29, 2013

Compliments for “Enlaced: A Burning Bush, Psalm 19” — a new sculpture for Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa


Enlaced: a Burning Bush, Psalm 19 — a sculpture for Dordt College
David M. Versluis, concept, design director, designer
8 feet at the base and 18 feet high
Weighs 6,550 lbs.
Southwest elevation looking toward Southview apartments

The dedication for Enlaced: a Burning Bush, Psalm 19 is scheduled for Monday November 4 at around 3:45 p.m.  Dr. Calvin Seerveld will be in attendance and will speak a few words. Seerveld’s “Burning Bush” insight from Psalm 19 in Rainbows for the Fallen World was part of the inspiration for the sculpture.

Sculpture Project Credits:
Thank you to the donors for generously funding the sculpture project.
Dordt College Art Committee, Sally Jongsma, chair
Lauren Ochsner, maquette welder, Golden Prairie Art, Maurice, Iowa
William Morren Design, LLC, industrial designer, Hillsboro, Wisconsin
Daniel Dykstra, engineering/structural analysis, Grand Rapids, Michigan,
D+M Metal, Inc., manufacturer, Comstock Park, Michigan
Stan Haak, et al., site preparation and concrete foundation forms, Dordt College Maintenance Dept.
Mark Van Voorst, Van Voorst Concrete, Hull, Iowa
Nelson Wynia, Nelson’s Welding and Machine, Sioux Center, Iowa
Mike Wynia, supervisor, Hoogendoorn Construction Inc., hoist service,
Canton, South Dakota

Regarding the sculpture here are some compliments from esteemed colleagues and acquaintances:

“Having stood alongside David during the original proposals, many technical plans, and delays, its a joy and a privilege to see and experience the final result, in the flesh.”
Jake Van Wyk, Professor of Art, Dordt College. Van Wyk is an artist and teacher with over 35 years experience

“What a simple powerful presence it has.”
Roy R. Behrens, Professor of Art, and Distinguished Scholar, University of Northern Iowa. Behrens was a nominee in 2003 for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Awards

“It looks fantastic!…. And I love the name!”
Phil Schaafsma, founder and director of Eyekons, Grand Rapids, Michigan

“Brilliant”… “Magnificent”
Rick Valicenti, founder and design director of Thirst/3st, AIGA Medalist and Fellow of the AIGA Chicago. Honored at the White House Valicenti was awarded the Smithsonian Cooper-­Hewitt, National Design Award for Communication Design in 2011

“…it looks wonderful.”
Joseph Michael Essex, Partner, Essex Two, Chicago and Fellow of the AIGA Chicago


North elevation looking toward East Campus


East elevation looking toward Covenant Hall


Installation of the uprights to the baseplate on 20 August. Pictured R-L is a Hoogendoorn Construction worker, Nelson Wynia, Jake VanWyk

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Friday, August 23, 2013

A centennial piece: Purcell and Elmslie’s Madison State Bank “Skylight”


William Gray Purcell, American, 1880–1965 and George Grant Elmslie, American (born Scotland), 1869–1952
Skylight, 1913
From the Madison State Bank, Madison, Minnesota (demolished 1968)
Purcell, Feick and Elmslie, architects
Glass, zinc caming, (with three new replacement panels and new oak frame)
Mosaic Art Shops (E.L. Sharretts), Manufacturer, Minneapolis, 1912–1930
From the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art
Photograph by versluis

This large art glass piece which is on permanent display at the MIA in Minneapolis has the characteristics of a frame within a frame design by collaborators Purcell and Elmslie. The original panels of the art glass, comprising the top and bottom rows will be one hundred years old this year; the center horizontal section of three panels are very fine reproductions.

The museum didactics for this piece state the following:

This is a recreation of the central skylight located over the teller cages of the Madison State Bank. The skylight originally comprised nine panels, however, the square central panel and two of the long border panels seen here are reproductions. For the bank, Purcell, Feick and Elmslie produced a long, narrow plan for the middle of a block. The exterior featured a window wall with aqua, orange, and yellow terracotta ornament enlivening the brick fa├žade. This was similar to Purcell and Elmslie’s other bank designs and also to Louis Sullivan’s National Farmers’ Bank in Owatonna (1908).

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

George Grant Elmslie and Alfonso Iannelli — two designers for the 1936 Oliver P. Morton School, Hammond, Indiana


George Grant Elmslie, American (born Scotland), 1869-1952
Main building cornice panel, Terracotta. 1936
Manufactured by Midland Terracotta Company, Chicago, 1919–39; Fritz Albert (American, 1865-1940), modeler
From the Oliver P. Morton School, Hammond, Indiana
(demolished 1991); William S. Hutton, architect, and George Grant Elmslie, designer
Collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, gift of Cathers and Dembrosky
Photograph by versluis

An interesting correlation of symbolism and motif exists between George Grant Elmslie and Alfonso Iannelli who were two designers for the 1936 Oliver P. Morton School, Hammond, Indiana.

A wonderful exhibition titled, “The Progressive Pencil: George Elmslie’s Prairie School Designs” is currently on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Regarding this piece the exhibition label explains the following:

In the 1930s, Elmslie collaborated with the architect William S. Hutton on three public elementary schools in Hammond, Indiana: the Oliver P. Morton School, the Thomas A. Edison School, and Washington Irving School. All three received funding from the Public Works Administration, part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933.

The Morton school and the concurrently designed and built Edison school impressively combined Prairie School rectilinearity with Elmslie’s organic ornamentation and large-scale figural sculpture. This panel—one of a series crowning the cornice of the Morton school—features the dynamic “flying V” Elmslie favored, along with abstracted floral and foliate ornament.


Alfonso Iannelli
American (born Italy), 1888-1965
Screen for Oliver P. Morton School, Hammond, Indiana, 1936
Photograph by versluis 
Photograph taken from the exhibition, “Modernism’s Messengers: The Art of Alfonso and Margaret Iannelli — 1910 to 1965”

The panels were designed and made as multiples, stacked on one another and the joints grouted for the installation. The exhibition label for this piece states, “This panel was part of a decorative perforated terracotta screen above the entrance of the Oliver P. Morton Elementary School in Hammond, Indiana.”

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Margaret Iannelli, graphic designer


Margaret Iannelli (1893-1967), graphic designer and illustrator
Store poster for Bauer & Black Baby Talc, 1922
3-color, perhaps printed 2-color

This piece and the one below are part of the exhibition Modernism’s Messengers: The Art of Alfonso and Margaret Iannelli, on view in the Chicago Rooms at the Chicago Cultural Center until August 17. 

The exhibition tag for the piece above states, “Iannelli Studios developed an entire marketing campaign for Bauer & Black’s line of baby products based on Margaret Iannelli’s playful theme of toy animals.”

Japanese printmaking and European modernists influenced many young artists in the United States in the early twentieth century, including Margaret. In this poster the typography is hand-lettered and, along with the animal illustrations, was drawn with India ink to produce the color separations. The typographic lettering supplements the illustrated animal imagery perfectly.

The color complimentaries of orange and blue enhance each other well and give the poster a young and vibrant appearance. The gold/brown color suggests a mixture in specific percentages of the blue and orange.


Margaret Iannelli, graphic designer, hand-lettering, and illustrator
Proposed graphics for Character Magazine, 1934–35 (unpublished)
India ink and opaque white on illustration board

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