University Museums

Title: Carom
Name: Sculpture
Date: 1986
Medium: High strength aluminum, painted
Dimensions: 294 x 132 x 360 in. (746.8 x 335.3 x 914.4 cm)
Signed: north side, near base of straight vertical side
Marks: Artist's initilals BW are sodered into base.
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Commissioned by the Iowa Art in State Buildings Program for the Black Engineering Builiding. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Location: Iowa State University, Black Eng. Building, South courtyard
Object Number: U86.504
More Information
Label #1:
After visiting Black Engineering Building and becoming familiar with the associated studies and activities as well as the natural space, the artist, Bruce White, conceived the idea for this sculpture. Focusing on material deformation, the sculpture "Carom" was developed by manipulating (bending, cutting, slicing, stressing, and twisting) a single sheet of high strength aluminum.
The outer edge of the upright has a diagonal slice at an angle to both the surface and the edge, creating a sharp curled "burr" reminiscent of the cutting burrs that sometimes occur while shearing thin metal. This accent is intended as a relief to the broad surfaces; it also relates to the acute negative voids where the narrow strips join the large units.

Label #2:
Carom was created to give the impression of manipulating tensile strengths (bending, cutting, slicing, stressing, and twisting) of a single sheet of high-strength aluminum. The form is a rectangle sliced nearly through lengthwise twice, search cut from opposite directions, to form a narrow strip down the center. The two large outer planes were then pulled apart and twisted in opposite directions to form the upward narrow spiral. The large horizontal member was folded and the surface planes allowed to shift at the outer end, creating a configuration with a beveled knife-like edge. The spiral connects and stabilizes the horizontal and vertical units. White based this abstract design on the reconfiguring and modeling that takes place daily inside the engineering buildings that surround Carom.

Sculptor Bruce White's pro affiliation before retirement was University Research Professor, Studio Sculpture, at the School of Art, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Northern Illinois University. He obtained his advanced education at Columbia University, New York City. Select public art commissions include: The Indianapolis Museum; Illinois State Museum; City of Chicago Capital Development Board; Rockford College; Purdue University; Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Ames, Iowa.

Label #3:
Carom focuses on the technical and mechanical aspects of engineering, specifically the 1980s experiments in tensile strength of metals. The sculptural concept is based on the practice of material deformation. Carom was developed by manipulating (bending, cutting, slicing, stressing and twisting) a single sheet of material. To begin, a rectangle was sliced lengthwise twice from opposite directions to form a narrow strip down the center. The two large outer planes were pulled apart and twisted in opposite directions to form the upward narrow spiral. The large horizontal section was folded and the surface planes allowed to shift at the outer end, creating a configuration with a beveled knife-like edge.
The spiral connects and stabilizes the horizontal and vertical units. The large upright unit has a subtle longitudinal twist as a consequence of pulling the two primary units in opposite directions – increasing its overall vertical strength and forming, from an edge view, an acute triangle.
The outer edge of the upright has a sharp curled burr reminiscent of the cutting burrs that sometimes occur while shearing thin metal. This accent is included as a relief to the broad surfaces and as a reference to the acute negative voids formed where the narrow strips join the large units.