‘Sculpture Soup’ scrap art showing at UMF

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The “Sculpture Soup” exhibit at the University of Maine at Farmington Emery Community Arts Center opens Monday and will continue through Nov. 3. A reception for the artist will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 9. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

To read about sculptor Jay Sawyer and see more of his work, visit his website: jaysawyer.com.

Jay Sawyer dropped a big “f-bomb” on the campus of the University of Maine at Farmington on Thursday — literally, with a big thud and theatrics.

With longtime friend and neighbor Bob Williams maneuvering his boom truck into place, Sawyer pushed, tugged and wriggled the 4oo-pound, 8-foot sculpture until it was about 3 feet off its base.

As he lined it up with a metal rod that would hold it in place, he bellowed: “Let it drop!” With that, the punny art thumped into place.  

Three years ago, the former marine engineer and Maine Maritime Academy graduate began dabbling in welding together pieces of scrap metal from his welding fabrication business in his hometown of Warren. After acquiring some skills, he felt something burning inside.  

“There were three sculptors that I happened by chance to meet and they saw potential in my skills and began to mentor me,” Sawyer said as he wiped beads of sweat off his bronzed forehead.   

He created the first piece to go into an exhibit at the University of Maine at Farmington Art Gallery. It was an e, made of iron and titled “iron-e.” Art with cerebral humor.  

“It just fits,” Sawyer said. “UMF is the oldest public secondary institution in Maine and it is such a cool vehicle that lends itself to the environments of art, math, engineering and marketing.”

He had no intention of making anything more than that piece and was not sure where it would go from there. “It might take off, or this could be a one-time thing. Just wait and see I guess,” he thought at the time.

This past week, he brought over 40 pieces to UMF’s Emery Community Arts Center for his first solo exhibit, titled “Sculpture Soup.”  

The pieces range in size, shape and medium. He uses numerous materials, from branches and scrap metal to sticks, old sports equipment and a variety of nontraditional material.

Art does not adhere to any letter of the law, and Sawyer capitalizes on it. 

The small “iron-e” now has a big brother: a large e, the bigger “Iron-e.” There is a B that looks like a bumblebee. A K made from croquet mallets. “C-saw” is a giant C with teeth that look like a backward saw blade. And pushing the envelope a bit, dozens of screws are formed into the letter U.  

And then there’s the f atop a giant bomb.

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