‘Asteray’ outdoor sculpture on display in front of Sampson Hoffland Laboratories

Sept. 8, 2009

A new temporary outdoor sculpture, “Asteray,” has been installed for the 2009-10 academic year on the plaza in front of Sampson Hoffland Laboratories.

“Asteray” is a stainless steel and powder-coated steel piece created in 2006 by Chicago sculptor Nicole Beck.

“Asteray” was recently on display in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as part of their expanded public sculpture initiative. 

The artist says that “Asteray” was inspired, in part, by the delicate tendrils of a prairie plant by the same name, but its form also suggests the tail of a comet or other astrological objects, or even the double helix of DNA. All of these visual references resonate with the disciplines housed in Valders and provide an appropriate context for placement of the sculpture. 

Beck’s specialty is large-scale works. Her range of media include steel and stainless, bronze, wood, glass, and landscaping outdoor public spaces.

She produces tile and glass mosaics, and paints murals directly on-site or off-site on panels to be installed. 

Beck is active in creating collaborative murals and mosaics for public spaces with diverse groups of apprentice artists recruited from the surrounding area. These projects require delving into all aspects of the community that can inform and inspire the artwork.

She has received numerous grants and honors for her work and has appeared in various publications, including “Ironwork Today 2: Inside & Out” and "Sculpture" magazine.

For more information about Beck, visit her website: www.nicolebeck.com.

'Asteray,' Nicole Beck