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Local limestone works grace Ivy Tech

Unveiling of sculptures set for Friday morning

By Nicole Brooks 331-4232 |
October 9, 2008

The chiseled face on the 8-foot-tall sculpture nearly finished, artist Patrick Berthaud stepped back from his limestone creation Wednesday and deemed it “like an onion.”

There are layers of meaning to the androgenous face and figure, he said in his French-accented English. “He or she doesn’t exist.”

The sculpture, called “Le Passage,” depicts a person on a journey, perhaps someone working their way through college or “someone who crossed the world,” Berthaud said.

Limestone sculptors Amy Brier and Patrick Berthaud talk next to Berthaud’s “The Passage” at Ivy Tech Wednesday. The piece will be dedicated Friday before Berthaud returns to France. David Snodgress | Herald-Times

He and local sculptor Amy Brier of Smithville will present their side-by-side Indiana limestone sculptures during a dedication ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

The ceremony will be on the northwest lawn of Ivy Tech Community College’s main building at 200 Daniels Way.

The permanent works, commissioned by Ivy Tech and the Bloomington Area Arts Council, were created over three weeks in view of the public, as an educational tool.

Happy to stop and talk with curious onlookers, Brier described the joy of working with limestone, hers from the Victor Oolitic quarry.

“It’s soft. I like it because it’s homogeneous,” with no markings to muck up the sculpture, she said.

For her half of the project, titled “Impressions,” Brier made casts of her hands, legs, arms and torso, and used them to create recessed body parts in the sculpture.

People can lay their hands or legs into the shallow recesses, something Brier saw an 8-year-old girl do the other day.

“I thought, ‘yes!’” she said, giving a thumbs-up sign.

Brier has known Berthaud and his work since 1990, she said, and is credited with turning him on to the idea of coming to the States for the project.

It marked Berthaud’s first visit to Indiana. He spent most of his time in Bloomington, traveling to Indianapolis once.

“It’s very peaceful. People are interested in culture,” he said of Bloomington.

The full-time artist will fly back to France after the dedication Friday, to return to his home in Wintzenheim.

As part of this project, dubbed the Limestone Duet, Ivy Tech’s Center for Life Long Learning will offer an 8-week introduction to limestone carving course, starting Oct. 25, taught by Brier.