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21st Boundary  is an expression of many of my own intensely personal concerns but, most importantly, 21st Boundary — with its metaphoric allusions—is specific to today and is meant to be a signifier of our time.

Its four steel and iron column forms—projectiles—express the opposed forces I see as central to our own time, yet they are reminders of far earlier art forms. They push upward, out of the earth mound—from the mythic base—drawing from primordial depths of consciousness. The inner reliefs, the revealed interiors of these forms, posit messages about and for us which must be interpreted and reinterpreted by each person who experiences this work.

Since recent explorations have taken us beyond the readily visible world which has been the basis of much of our visual art during the immediate past, we now depend upon high technology to gather and disseminate this not readily seen—even non-visual—data. Still we depend upon human experience and emotion to communicate and to “picture” for us this new information and to interpret its immense impact on our civilization. Therefore, we must expect our forms, symbols and imagery to differ from the past while at the same time show our close harmony with much earlier civilizations, civilizations whose drawings also were based more on acts of faith and imagination than on direct observation.

As we challenge boundaries in exploration, our fears of the new, not readily visible world push us back toward isolation and denial of the new. 21st Boundary  is perhaps not “about” the delicate balance we must strike to survive: in cycling between exploration, which breaks old restraints, expands boundaries and includes the excluded; and isolation, which erects new boundaries, boundaries that exclude and which, if allowed to stand, will lead us to self- and world-destruction.

"...WHATmarks [art] off from all other organized human activity, is that it does not seek control through explanation, that it offers the freedom to experience and question.”    - Robert Morris, The Arts (July 1979)

"...STATES of happiness, mythology, faces belabored by time, certain twilights and certain places try to tell us something, or have said something we should not have missed, or are about to say something: this imminence of a revelation which does not occur is, perhaps, the aesthetic phenomenon.”      - Jorge Luis Borges, “The Wall and the Books,” Labyrinths

My work has been influenced by our relationships to the earth and to other humans: by visible and invisible boundaries; by concepts of TIME measured by interval, movement and change; by the many forms of communication—visual, verbal, tactile, others—which intertwine and overlay one another in art; by the interaction of the public with art and how people can add meaning to a work of art.     - Shirley Wyrick


The Mid-America Group

West Des Moines, IA   1981–1984



The Regency West Office Park

50th and Westown Parkway

West Des Moines, IA   1982–1984

OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 60’ x 120’  x 26'h.

Brochure Richard Blazek | Alan Swanson

PHOTOGRAPHY Stefani Karakas | Shirley Wyrick


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