By Staff Writer Eric Sousa
The New Bedford Art Musuem / Artworks! (NBAM) is currently adorned with a memorable piece from UMass Dartmouth professor and artist Stacy Latt Savage. Known as “Entropy”, the piece is unique in its origin and process. Created on-site, it will continue to grow and adjust and change throughout the months. To learn more about the piece, the Torch sat down with Savage to learn more about the artistic process.
The type of office in which my interviews normally take place consist of a neat, tidy room with books and diplomas hanging on the walls. My interview with Professor Stacy Savage, the sculpting professor in the Center for Visual and Performing Arts, had a very different vibe than these past experiences. The large room was teeming with in-progress projects, most of it involving realistic depictions of unfinished human parts. A limb here, a torso there. It might have been macabre, if not for the well-lit environment and the bubbling personality of the professor there.
As I was in the New Bedford Art Museum, staring at the unique art installation of “Entropy”, I started to recognize the scope of this piece. Its circular pattern was smooth, rhythmic, and slowly spiraling outward. It’s heavily inspired by the Fibonacci Sequence, which is a dominating pattern in nature. This numerical pattern is seen in everything from sunflower seeds, embryos, even the layout of the Milky Way galaxy. This is an art installation that will be worked on every month.
The artist will be updating “Entropy” the first Thursday of every month, at the free-admission event known as AHA! Night. She will be adding to the piece, shaping and molding it throughout the night. This site-specific 3D installation isn’t standard issue for most artists, but Professor Savage thrives in these environments.
The idea of having that many eyes on you while working would seem borderline terrifying to me. When asked about this, she smiled and spoke, “Terrifying? After 23 years of teaching, audiences don’t faze me anymore. I thrive on engagement.”
At this beginning stage of the installation, the predominating theme is ‘order,’ according to the artist. As the months progress, her ideas will flourish and become apparent on the piece. By the end of this piece’s journey, it could be almost unrecognizable from where it started. These elements invite additional complications, but Savage is prepared to take them on.
“I welcome the challenge of updating my art in very specific times, in an environment where people can continue to interact with me. I see it as a sort of restriction,” she said. “Restrictions and limitations are great for artists; it forces them to come up with creative solutions.”
While some artists need peace and quiet for their creative juices, Professor Savage comes from a different school of thought. The community involvement acts as a source of inspiration for her. Beyond that, she feels it is important to grow the connection between UMass Dartmouth and the New Bedford community.
“I love to be involved with the community. It’s important that our university has presence in it, and that the community feels it has access to our school. The two work together, like a dovetail joint,” she said with a smile.
The conversations during this interview bounced around from “Entropy” to the best food spots in New Bedford, and covered everything in between. Professor Savage has been a prominent community member, responsible for creating works such as the Holocaust Memorial in Buttonwood Park.
The New Bedford Art Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday 12-5, and Thursday from 12-9. The entrance fee, when there is one, is still only $3 for students. That’s less than I’ve ever spent at a Wendy’s and is always a farm more enriching experience. I implore you to explore the art provided by local artists at NBAM, because let’s be honest; we could all do with a little more color and wonder in our life.