BETHLEHEM, PA— The Theory of Relativity, E = mc2, is perhaps the most famous equation in the world, and while most can attribute it to Albert Einstein, few understand its significance.
Aiming to educate through art, Pittsburgh-based sculptor James West wants to challenge the public to step outside its comfort zone and explore science and physics with his large cast bronze sculpture of Einstein. Weighing in at more than 2,000 pounds, Split Infinity will be on display at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, from April 19-June 23 in the Capital BlueCross Creativity Commons.
The Theory of Relativity explains how what we perceive as the force of gravity in fact arises from the curvature of space and time. As West’s interpretation of that, Split Infinity is a multi-faceted, larger-than-life sculpture that depicts Einstein, split at the waist, being pushed and pulled from floor to ceiling. As a convergence of art and science, West believes the sculpture illustrates how Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) are all critical ways to explore and engage with the world, from concepts like the motion of the planets to the history and expansion of the universe.
“I imagine and design the framework for every sculptural story, and Split Infinity is no exception,” West says. “Einstein looked at time in a physical way and questioned time, space and matter. I explored Einstein’s Theory of Relativity deeper to understand the push and pull that Einstein may have experienced not only with this theory, but with his life’s challenges in general.
“The struggles that occur with anyone during their lifetime must be met with determination and a will to succeed, no matter the size of the challenge. My hope is that this piece, Split Infinity, inspires viewers to think outside their own box and dare to be different!”
Split Infinity, which will rise from the floor of the ArtsQuest Center and drop from the ceiling of the building, will be unveiled April 19, with a free reception from 6-8 p.m. in the Capital BlueCross Creativity Commons to kick off the SouthSide Arts & Music Festival. The free exhibition will run through June 23 and include an educational Peas & Qs Family Workshop at the ArtsQuest Center April 21, 11:30 a.m., where children of all ages are invited to join West to learn about the synergy of art and science. Additionally, 1,000 5th grade students in the Bethlehem Area School District will view and interact with the sculpture while touring SteelStacks on a field trip in May.
Schools and private groups are also invited to schedule a guided tour, which provides in-depth information about the artist, the creation of the sculpture and the vision for the work. Tours are led by ArtsQuest Director of Education Lisa Harms; for more information or to schedule a tour contact email@example.com.
“Split Infinity is a powerful representation of how art can serve as a platform to merge the elements and disciplines of learning and to encourage viewers to challenge their understanding of how they as individuals can relate to the bigger picture,” says ArtsQuest Senior Director of Visual Arts Stacie Brennan. “We are so grateful to Jim West for sharing his vision, passion and talent with our community. This sculpture will be an incredible opportunity to engage the community in a new way of thinking and looking, and to further an important dialogue of how art and creativity can enhance science, technology, engineering, art and math.”
Best known for his monument-sized sculpture Point of View on top of Mt. Washington overlooking the city of Pittsburgh, West is a passionate sculptor who specializes in large-scale, contemporary, abstract, figurative and multi-media interactive art. The owner of Studio Wild West, he has also sculpted The Bond and In the East, Brother Benjamin Franklin located at the Grand Masonic Museum of Philadelphia.
For more information on James West and Studio Wild West, visit www.studiowildwest.com. For more information on the Split Infinity exhibition and SouthSide Arts & Music Festival, visit www.bananafactory.org/ssamf.