New Outdoor Sculptures Installed on Fredonia Campus

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Rainy Lehrman (second from left) with Art Forum students L to R: Jessica Smith, Madeline Keenan, Angeline Ginsberg, Prince Aziz Hunt, Maxwell Lee and Matthew Henze after completing the installation.

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The State University of New York at Fredonia

Two new sculptures by Brooklyn artist Rainy Lehrman have arrived at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

The artwork, selected by the student art club Art Forum, is part of Lehrman’s Stockpile series and will be on loan until May 2022.

Located between Maytum and Mason halls, the sculptures are made of sawdust, spandex and exterior paint and measure 6-by-5-by-5 feet and 9-by-6-by-6 feet. Art Forum members recently assisted the artist in the installation.

Art majors Maxwell Lee, Art Forum president, and Jessica Smith, Art Forum’s In Sight/On Site Committee chair, coordinated the project with assistance from Marion Art Gallery Director Barbara Räcker. The project was supported by the Carnahan Jackson Humanities Fund of the Fredonia College Foundation.

“To stockpile is a natural human instinct,” Ms. Lehrman wrote in a recent artist statement. Putting away for harder times, hoarding grain, salt and gold to sustain and control the masses. This ongoing work, titled ‘Stockpile,’ is a reaction to that mentality and the larger absurdity of bioengineering and human consumption.

“My work here is largely processed based as I try to create a version of the future of ‘food stuffs’ and what that might look like if produced without the use of living animals. Petri-meat, pink slime, genetic hybrids and the simplification of form have led me to create this large mass,” Lehrman explained.

“With seven shades of pink and seven basic forms, I have built and layered a pile that is both inviting and grotesque. One that is fleshy, fatty and firm. ‘Stockpile’ is organic in nature and will degrade over time. It will cure, mold, stain and develop a rind. Comprised of industrial spandex, sawdust and six layers of exterior paint. Each piece was sewn, stuffed, sealed, painted and tagged much like industrial meat processing. I hope for this work to appear familiar yet strangely off putting, and deeply suspicious.”

Lehrman’s recent work stems from the observation of human occupation, labor and the desire to stockpile material goods. She reconstructs or displays that waste in forms that resemble food products, often elevating them to a place of status. The work has little permanence, and is often a byproduct of an industrial process.

Her interest in material potential surveys the act of human exertion and waste that occurs as a result of labor and the nature of its harmony or discord as it is exposed to gravity, natural elements and time.

Lehrman received her M.F.A. in Sculpture from Pratt Institute in 2008 and her B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2002 where she studied furniture design. She has lectured and taught at Pacific Northwest College of Art, William Paterson University and Pratt Institute. Lehrman has exhibited her work bi-coastally and is currently living and working as an artist, educator, fabricator and facilitator in Brooklyn.

The In Sight/On Site Sculpture Project, initiated by the Department of Visual Arts and New Media and the Office of the President in 1998, exists to expose the campus and community to developments and directions within contemporary sculpture, and to foster an appreciation for art as an integrated concern within public space.

The Lehrman sculptures increase Fredonia’s public sculpture count to 17. Most are permanent after artists gifted the sculptures, or they were purchased for the campus, following an In Sight/On Site loan. Artists-in-residence created several of the sculptures during workshops with students, and two were purchased with state construction funds. Currently only four sculptures are on loan from the artist.