June 17, 2010
Written by Sherrel Jones
To blend well with Texas Tech’s Spanish Renaissance style, benches were made of Colorado red sandstone. The overarching bronze-colored backrest is welded steel to simulate the dark structure of seed pods.
Artist Robert Tully sat on a bench nestled underneath lush trees at Texas Tech while wondering how to connect people with their natural surrounding through art.
Across from him was an empty space waiting to be transformed.
Inspired by a seed-pod skeleton, Tully created three practical benches at Horn Hall that convey the idea of plant community.
“My work generally connects people to a particular natural setting, so the seed-pod idea seemed like a good direction because it connected with Horn Hall’s landscape and could accommodate a bench inside the shape,” Tully said. “The seed also could make a strong visual shape for art.”
To blend well with Texas Tech’s Spanish Renaissance style, benches were made of Colorado red sandstone. The overarching bronze-colored backrest is welded steel to simulate the dark structure of seed pods..
These benches differ from any other artwork Tully has created. To craft original pieces, he repeats the process of imagination to relate people to a location.
Tully’s artwork evolves from piece to piece. Before creating work, he allows himself to become inspired by a site’s surroundings. The campus architecture and mature trees stimulated ideas for the seed-pod style benches. Once Tully has a vision in mind, he sketches. The Denver-born artist’s style blends conceptual, representational, abstract elements and is specific to a site.
A national call for outdoor seating entries at Texas Tech was the perfect opportunity for Tully to branch out.
“Texas Tech has an active public-art program and has built a reputation by commissioning works from many well-known, respected artists,” Tully said. “They chose me, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
University settings allow art to become a part of culture, he said. Artwork adds to the creation of a stimulating and intellectual atmosphere.
Facilities, Planning & Construction is part of the Texas Tech University System and supports Texas Tech's academic missions by creating high-quality, innovative campuses through professional planning, design and construction management.
FP&C also oversees the public art collection on campus.