Engineering Innovation Building to feature glass artwork from a local artist

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Christine Tarkowski’s artwork will be featured in the new Engineering Innovation Building

By David Brazy

The UIC Fine Arts Review Committee has spoken, and local Chicago artist Christine Tarkowski has come out on top in the College of Engineering’s search for a public art commission for its new Engineering Innovation Building.

Tarkowski’s “The Second Law of Thermodynamics: ENTROPY” was selected after the committee reviewed votes and comments from students, faculty, staff and other members of the UIC community. The other two finalists for the art commission were “Conduit” by Rachel Beach of New York, and “Nano Vanitas” by Todd Slaughter of Ohio.

Models and digital presentations from the three finalists were displayed in the lobby of the Engineering Research Facility last month and the UIC community was invited to view the models and vote on their favorite. The results were reviewed by the committee members, who made the final decision in early May.

The Entropy project will feature groups of large glass volumes that will be suspended from the building’s ceiling at different lengths in the atrium. The different shapes and components are made by combining glass with metals and other materials.

Tarkowski’s statement of work describes the piece as dynamic and constantly transforming, as the glass shapes will sway in the building’s air currents and catch the day’s sunlight as it streams in through the lobby’s expansive windows.

The committee members felt Tarkowski’s idea was the most energetic and included both natural-looking components and geometric and industrial ones. The committee also appreciated that Entropy will be visible from Taylor Street to people passing by and that Tarkowski works with a local engineer and local glassworks to create her projects.

The university will hold a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the opening of the Engineering Innovation Building on July 22. Tarkowski is expected to finish installing her project by the end of this year.

“Its ornamental qualities, organic-looking textures, and moments of delicacy further provide an aesthetic largely absent from the UIC campus,” the art selection committee wrote in its evaluation. The committee members also expressed the opinion that Entropy’s components “might be said to give the campus a welcome bit of jewelry and sparkle, a thought-provoking moment of pleasure, in a place known for hard work and long winters.”