Saint Louis University

Henry Lay Sculpture Park

Set on approximately 20 acres, the Sculpture Park is surrounded by 350-acres of natural meadows, wooded rolling hills, lakes and streams. A well-maintained path takes guests on a 40-minute walk through a Maple Grove, the McElwee Cemetery, and most importantly a plethora of sculptures.

1 / 8

Bing Cheng
China

Sun and Moon
bronze
2000

The Sun and Moon series uses a concrete human form as a metaphor for describing the forces of nature. The exaggeration and transformation of the human form, combined with a bronze medium, delivers a strong visual impact.

2 / 8

Bing Cheng
China

Three Sisters
bronze
2000

Three Sisters was designed to reflect a diligent and intelligent Miao ethnic group, which is located in the Southwest part of China. This ethnic group has an age-old culture tradition. The most representative characters among their culture tradition were the beautiful costume and their folk song and dance. This piece of artwork expresses three Miao sisters, at after work and during holidays, put on their beautiful costumes, sing, and dance to celebrate their harvest and achievement and to express their happiness.

3 / 8

Brian Rust
United States

Natural Infinity
tree trunks & stones from property
2000

Natural Infinity is a work of sculpture constructed on-site in the meadow area behind the central pond at the Lay Center for the Arts and Sciences. The tree trunks and stones used to build the work were all collected from the Center’s property. Natural Infinity was created to fit into its physical environment and to focus attention back on the surrounding forest and meadow. It exists between the worlds of sculptural object and landscape architecture. Natural Infinity was designed to be a place of interest, a place of contemplation; most simply it was meant to be a “place.”

Two themes inherent in Natural Infinity are continuity and change. The tree trunks undulate in and out of ground level to create this symbol in the landscape of something that goes on forever. Landscape is often seen as something eternal although we have all seen profound and permanent changes to our natural surroundings within our lifetimes. The history of this particular land bespeaks of use and reuse; from woods to farm to a nature/art park. The forms that make up Natural Infinity flow together as a physical metaphor and pose an open question about how we view the natural world: What is our relationship to nature? Are we part of it or separate from it? What lasts forever? Natural Infinity will settle into the meadow and continue to change. It will go the way of everything in the natural world; slowly back to the earth as part of the ongoing process of decay and renewal.

In finding the geometry of the infinity symbol within those twisted trunks, I found myself engaged in that age old human search for order within my natural surroundings. Natural Infinity exists as many things: As a sculptural environment, as a human symbol, as a footprint on the land, as a place to explore and finally as one additional component of this complex thing we call “landscape”.

4 / 8

Brian Rust
United States

Natural Infinity
tree trunks & stones from property
2000

Natural Infinity is a work of sculpture constructed on-site in the meadow area behind the central pond at the Lay Center for the Arts and Sciences. The tree trunks and stones used to build the work were all collected from the Center’s property. Natural Infinity was created to fit into its physical environment and to focus attention back on the surrounding forest and meadow. It exists between the worlds of sculptural object and landscape architecture. Natural Infinity was designed to be a place of interest, a place of contemplation; most simply it was meant to be a “place.”

Two themes inherent in Natural Infinity are continuity and change. The tree trunks undulate in and out of ground level to create this symbol in the landscape of something that goes on forever. Landscape is often seen as something eternal although we have all seen profound and permanent changes to our natural surroundings within our lifetimes. The history of this particular land bespeaks of use and reuse; from woods to farm to a nature/art park. The forms that make up Natural Infinity flow together as a physical metaphor and pose an open question about how we view the natural world: What is our relationship to nature? Are we part of it or separate from it? What lasts forever? Natural Infinity will settle into the meadow and continue to change. It will go the way of everything in the natural world; slowly back to the earth as part of the ongoing process of decay and renewal.

In finding the geometry of the infinity symbol within those twisted trunks, I found myself engaged in that age old human search for order within my natural surroundings. Natural Infinity exists as many things: As a sculptural environment, as a human symbol, as a footprint on the land, as a place to explore and finally as one additional component of this complex thing we call “landscape”.

5 / 8

Wendy Klemperer
United States

Wolves
steel & bonded cement/resin
2001

In this piece I wanted to respond to the beauty and untamed quality of the land here. Although there are trails, and mowed areas, and man-made lakes, the overall feeling of the Lay Sculpture Park when I visited it was of nature in a state of unrestrained growth. The place invites one to explore, to contemplate, to discover what lies and lives within it. I chose the imagery of wolves because they imply extreme wildness, a rare and dangerous beauty. The pieces are not literal wolves, however, but proto-wolves. Larger than life, the forms are realistic in that they convey a canine image, yet they are more about the drama of wild presence, and the abstract beauty of line and form within the animal image. Their size might even denote that they are remnants of some undetermined prehistoric era. The attitudes of the pieces are dramatic and extreme to emphasize the uncontrolled beauty of the animal, and by extension, the environment. Animals express their inner state through the attitudes of their bodies. Within the skeletal presence of the sculptures I attempt to convey the full energy of that inner life. Looking at a dinosaur skeleton, or any skeleton really, it has immediate and visceral impact. It’s not cloaked with skin and fat, it’s the bare bones of the thing, describing its function in stark visual form, carving beneath the simple fleshy outline. The grimace of a skull shocks us, because we are used to the thing ameliorated by a soft layer homogenizing the parts. Who would think that the jaws hinge so far back, that the eyes have such huge, hollow sockets? How can that framework be the thing that we living beings are constructed of beneath our pelts and our blue jeans? There is a horror to it, but also a fascinating beauty.

I chose to place the piece in a field so it could be seen from a distance, and would draw the viewer close to investigate. Raising it on a mound increases the drama, visibility, and scale. The built site implies a narrative: the wolves seem to have gathered in a specific area that is their territory, perhaps ruins of a former civilization overtaken by nature. At this place they commune with each other, standing apart from and above their surroundings. As the viewer approaches, one might feel challenged by the stalking forms. Exploring the site, entering within the circle through the cutaway sides, or climbing up onto the mound, one could become part of this group to share its domain and vantage point.

6 / 8

Wendy Klemperer
United States

Wolves
steel & bonded cement/resin
2001

In this piece I wanted to respond to the beauty and untamed quality of the land here. Although there are trails, and mowed areas, and man-made lakes, the overall feeling of the Lay Sculpture Park when I visited it was of nature in a state of unrestrained growth. The place invites one to explore, to contemplate, to discover what lies and lives within it. I chose the imagery of wolves because they imply extreme wildness, a rare and dangerous beauty. The pieces are not literal wolves, however, but proto-wolves. Larger than life, the forms are realistic in that they convey a canine image, yet they are more about the drama of wild presence, and the abstract beauty of line and form within the animal image. Their size might even denote that they are remnants of some undetermined prehistoric era. The attitudes of the pieces are dramatic and extreme to emphasize the uncontrolled beauty of the animal, and by extension, the environment. Animals express their inner state through the attitudes of their bodies. Within the skeletal presence of the sculptures I attempt to convey the full energy of that inner life. Looking at a dinosaur skeleton, or any skeleton really, it has immediate and visceral impact. It’s not cloaked with skin and fat, it’s the bare bones of the thing, describing its function in stark visual form, carving beneath the simple fleshy outline. The grimace of a skull shocks us, because we are used to the thing ameliorated by a soft layer homogenizing the parts. Who would think that the jaws hinge so far back, that the eyes have such huge, hollow sockets? How can that framework be the thing that we living beings are constructed of beneath our pelts and our blue jeans? There is a horror to it, but also a fascinating beauty.

I chose to place the piece in a field so it could be seen from a distance, and would draw the viewer close to investigate. Raising it on a mound increases the drama, visibility, and scale. The built site implies a narrative: the wolves seem to have gathered in a specific area that is their territory, perhaps ruins of a former civilization overtaken by nature. At this place they commune with each other, standing apart from and above their surroundings. As the viewer approaches, one might feel challenged by the stalking forms. Exploring the site, entering within the circle through the cutaway sides, or climbing up onto the mound, one could become part of this group to share its domain and vantage point.

7 / 8

Devin Laurence Field
United States

The Last Procession
Cor-ten Steel
1999

The Last Procession is a piece about the turning point in human history that is marked by the coming of the new millennium. The sculpture was made in 1999 and it references the challenge that we will be faced with in the next century to regain the balance of nature, to begin to put the good of the community and of the future before the good of the individual. In the last 100 years, we have seen more environmental impact and loss of species than the previous 100,000 years combined. The horse represents nature, carrying the burden of civilization (the pagoda on its back) across a bridge. The bridge is a metaphor for passage over difficult or dangerous terrain, a way with few options. The location was selected for its outlook across the valley. The horse faces the house, welcoming the visitor and occupying the position of the Koma Inu or the Foo dog - guardian of the house, defender against inauspicious energy.

8 / 8

Bob and Jo Wilfong
United States

To Dance as One
bronze
2003

Without you darling I was okay,
but not as whole as I am today.
I danced alone, perfected my style
But nothing I did seemed worthwhile.
I had more time for me alone,
But that’s just it, I was alone,
With you there’s much more to life,
Your warmth, your love, your gift of life.
To dance alone was no fun
I much prefer “To Dance As One”.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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