If you’ve driven past your Fox Cities Performing Arts Center on Division St. in recent months, you may have noticed a sculpture positioned alongside valet entrance. This cast iron, steel and painted sculpture, titled The Truth of Geometry, was created by Teresa Lind, a teacher at UW-Whitewater. Submitting this sculpture to Sculpture Valley’s ACREofART – a public sculpture program to display artwork throughout the Fox Cities – Teresa was excited to hear that it had been accepted and that it would be placed in front of the Fox Cities P.A.C. Teresa elaborated on her background, the process for the unique piece of artwork, and how it represents strong and empowered women standing tall.
Teresa’s love of art started at an early age. As a young student, Teresa recalls writing in her notebook about dreams of being a teacher, mom, veterinarian and an artist. Over the years, she has explored various aspects of art before honing her craft with sculpting and metal casting. Teresa lives her passion for sculpting in her current teaching position at UW-Whitewater where she teaches 3-D Design, Sculpture 101 and Advanced Sculpture. She also has a studio in Chilton, WI where she hosts iron pours at her foundry that are attended by artists across the country.
After graduating in 2000 with a drawing, painting, and sculpture degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Teresa studied for a short time at The Florence Academy of Art in Italy. In 2005, she earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Since then, Teresa has participated in two Italian residencies, displayed her work on local, regional, national and international levels, and conducted pours all throughout Wisconsin. She also recently taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The joy of teaching, to Teresa, is the ability to share her expertise and passion with others, as well as helping with problem solving. Being a shy individual, Teresa challenged herself to move outside of her comfort zone to better talk and defend her work while in grad school. When an opportunity to teach arose, Teresa accepted it, viewing it as a chance to discuss art in a new way. “I was really nervous with my first class, but then I realized how much I love to share knowledge,” Teresa remarked. “Every time I learned something new, I couldn’t wait to share it with my students, saying, ‘Look what you can do with this’ and ‘Look at this process.’ My assignments have changed a lot over the years because of a real excitement over sharing knowledge.”
While teaching, Teresa sees firsthand the power that creating and analyzing art has, becoming a therapeutically expressive outlet. “I’ve seen a lot of evidence of the arts becoming a healing process, regardless of the medium used to work through trauma, confusion, questions, identity… “Teresa herself has experienced the positive effects of making art, helping her work through her own personal struggles as a surprising but enlightening byproduct of the process rather than an expectation.
During her time at UW-Green Bay, Teresa created The Truth of Geometry sculpture. “This was the very first large sculpture that I made, and it holds a special place in my heart because I made it with students at UW-Green Bay; it was such an honor to be asked.” she shared. “Two things UW-Green Bay is known for is humanities and business. I was wondering how to create a sculpture about business and ended up using geometric forms to represent the math side of business.” Teresa later submitted this art piece to Sculpture Valley’s ACREofART where it was accepted.
Inspired by the strong women around her, particularly her female students, Teresa often focuses on artwork that represents women who are feminine in their attire but pursue physically demanding or traditionally masculine careers. Teresa also draws influences from fashion and costuming, creating a juxtaposition between those visually appealing elements against the gritty work of casting metal. The Truth of Geometry sculpture embodies these contrasting yet fascinating themes seamlessly. “Making this figure a strong, powerful woman who represented math and business which in the past was the man’s realm, spoke to the exclusion of women in math, gaming, coding and other fields. It’s not a specific portrait of anyone but it’s any homage to all those female students who are taking that path.”
Working on such a complex piece of art was a challenge for Teresa. She turned to a local manufacturer in Green Bay to ask for help with the precision of this sculpture including the geometry and managing the large of sheets of metal so Teresa could cast her own panels and then weld them together. “A lot of my sculptures prior to this piece and since then have been organic, so this was out of my wheelhouse, which is why I needed to ask for help,” Teresa remarked. “I’m not good at math myself, so that’s why it was so challenging for me. This is my sleekest and cleanest sculpture.” Having assistance with bending and rolling the metal, Teresa was able to complete her sculpture in about three months.
Teresa’s sculpture celebrates the pride and dignity of what it means to be female while shedding a light on the reality of balancing manual labor, hard work and responsibility. “My ultimate hope is that the work causes the viewer to laugh, self-reflect or empathize and that, through that experience, they have a better appreciation for the role of art as something to make us pause and consider our environment, our own humanity, and that of others,” Teresa stated.
Besides cast iron and steel, Teresa has experimented with other mediums. Her first love was bronze before she fell in love with iron, then aluminum and she is now back to bronze. “Iron is hard to work with and you need a lot of people,” she commented.” It’s hard to weld, so there’s always this tough struggle I enjoy if I’m in the mood for it, but sometimes it’s daunting. For casting, I really love bronze. But I also discovered that when I moved away from being traditional, I was enjoying making some of the dresses out of cement or leather or wood, resin, weaved wires, so I’ve played with mixed media as well and I’ve enjoyed that juxtaposition of using those materials.”
Currently, Teresa is making a series of sculptures that represent Earth mothers and female water protectors to recognize women and the Earth as powerful nurturers, challenge societal norms, and bring awareness to environmental concerns. Mythology often depicts masculine rulers for bodies of water, but Teresa wanted to change the perspective. Using iron and bronze to represent the Earth mothers and casting flowers and leaves in their dresses, Teresa allows her projects to make a connection to the materials that should be used. Aluminum and blue patina were natural choices for water goddesses because of the silvery blue tones. When creating a huntress, Teresa made the dress out of leather to add to the organic element of the piece. Making a wooden dress for a lumber jill seemed fitting, once again making the elements that these pieces represented visible in their dress. Choosing which materials to use in her art with such intentionality, demonstrates Teresa’s passion and the indelible mark that she is making in the arts community.
Written by Philomena Dorobek, Brand Storyteller
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center