Jene Highstein, 1994
This concrete, wood and metal mesh sculpture is located at the Newquist Sculpture Court at the Visual Art Center. It was a gift of Thomas W. Knaup.
Flame was originally created to emerge from the concrete entryway leading into Richard and Louise Newquist’s home. Like many of Jene Highstein’s three-dimensional pieces, it is based on a simplified shape of relaxed geometry that looks and feels somewhat organic and handmade. The artist has sculpted granite in some works; although the shape is similar to that of a large, granite boulder, Flame is formed out of reinforced concrete. It has been suggested that the artist's large-scale sculptures may be intended to evoke monuments of ancient cultures; however, in Flame we are also reminded of modern art movements. Highstein eschews the perfection of the geometric forms associated with the Minimalist movement in favor of the irregular and, in this case, a sometimes puzzling mound, titled Flame.
World-renowned artist Jene Highstein (1942–2013) received a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Maryland in 1963 and studied as a graduate student at the University of Chicago for two years. In 1966 he took up drawing at the New York Studio School. He earned a Post Graduate Diploma at the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1970. Highstein was also a visiting lecturer, artist, and professor at major universities all over the country. In addition, Highstein won many grants and awards in the arts, including the John Simon Guggenheim Award for sculpture in 1980. Many corporate and public collections hold his works.