“Inscapes” exhibit features work of Virginia A. Groot Sculptor-in-Residence Andrew Hellmund

Posted on January 14th, 2019 by

One of the pieces in the new Schaefer Art Gallery exhibit, "Inscapes" by Andrew Hellmund.

Growing up, Gustavus Adolphus College’s Virginia A. Groot Sculptor-in-Residence Andrew Hellmund thought he wanted to be an architect. But as he moved through high school he found himself creating sculptures constantly. He would actually carry around wire and pliers and make small sculptures of people from the wire. In 2010 Hellmund’s path shifted when he sold his first piece (made from elevator shaft and railing) for more than he realized was possible.

Since then, Hellmund has created sculptures out of steel and “found” materials. Several of his works are large-scale public installations across North America. However, his most recent work featured in the “Inscapes” exhibit at the Schaefer Art Gallery is much smaller, more along the lines of objects you might see in a small courtyard or placed on top of a coffee table. The exhibit opens January 14 with an opening reception from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on January 17.

In his work Hellmund combines not only his love of architecture but also the movement and patterns picked up through another passion, social dance. While watching dancers, he says he pays close attention to the way the dancers move through space. “I follow the movement and the energy associated with that movement,” he says. “I really key in on the bigger shapes and forms as they dance, what kind of gestures they create.” That movement then goes into his work.

Hellmund’s new exhibit is part of his role as Virginia A. Groot Sculptor-in-Residence at Gustavus funded by a grant from the Virginia A. Groot Foundation. The $300,000 grant spread over three years allows the College to collaborate with three-dimensional artists to bring a more diverse art experience to students. Hellmund is the second artist to hold the one-year appointment.

As part of his role, Hellmund keeps a studio on campus and interacts frequently with students, both in the classroom and informally. The close proximity of his studio to the studios of senior art majors provides for more natural collaboration outside of class time. Each semester he teaches one class that includes art and non-art majors alike. During the fall, Hellmund took his class through the entire process of creating art from “found” items like plastic, cardboard, and steel to the end product.

Hellmund hopes that patrons of the exhibit come to see these pieces of steel in a different way as they navigate the exhibit and that it might even translate to other areas of life. “I believe that by using recycled materials, we’re able to give people the opportunity to see what’s around them in a different light,” he says. “And maybe through this window we can see people or other things we’ve discarded in a new light as well.”

The exhibit runs January 14 through February 23, with an opening reception from 6:30–8:30 p.m. January 17 at the Schaefer Art Gallery on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.


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