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Ohio Northern University Professor Emerita installs sculpture on Toledo’s main campus

ImageJanuary—Professor Emerita Judith Greavu, associate professor of art at Ohio Northern University, recently completed an installation for her sculpture titled “Current Forces” at the University of Toledo. It pays tribute to the Ottawa River.

By Vicki L. Kroll
The work consists of three cast bronze sections mounted on six brass tubes; it weighs more than 1,000 pounds and is 15 feet long, 5 feet wide and 10 feet tall.

It recently was installed on the south side of Bowman-Oddy Laboratories and Wolfe Hall. Funding for “Current Forces” came from the Ohio Percent for Art Program related to the renovation of the buildings.

“The piece evokes the course of the Ottawa River as it flows through two counties and shows the shape and form and depth of the river,” said Dr. Steven LeBlanc, executive associate dean for academic affairs and professor in the College of Engineering, who is chair of the Campus Environs and Beautification Committee. “The piece complements the educational and research interests of several of the academic departments that occupy the Bowman-Oddy complex.”

Greavu said, “The surface of the water gives only hints of the life forms that inhabit a stream. The large lower surfaces of the ‘water’—the cast bronze sections—in the sculpture allow for imagery and textural development that show some of those life forms.”

Indeed, close inspection of the dry verdigris patina discovers a turtle, deer and raccoon tracks, mussels and fish.

And five fused glass circles feature fish and crayfish in the artwork. When the sun strikes these spots, it’s reminiscent of light on the river.

“The glass medium enhances the watery expression of the sculpture,” Greavu said.

The river image also could be seen as a visual metaphor for the diverse and dynamic science disciplines housed in Bowman-Oddy Laboratories and Wolfe Hall.

“I hope viewers see beyond the ‘story’ of the river and the life forms and the symbolism to recognize the purely formal visual forces of the piece,” Greavu said.

She was selected from approximately 20 artists from across Ohio who submitted proposals, according to LeBlanc. The artist is known for her work that is fluid and symbolic of nature. Greavu was an associate professor of art at Ohio Northern University from 1985 until her retirement in 2005.

Prof. Greavu holds a Bachelor of Science degree in art education from Ball State University and a Masters in Fine Arts degree in painting from Bowling Green State University. She taught at Bluffton University and recently retired from Ohio Northern University. While at Ohio Northern, she was responsible for the art education and sculpture programs, served as the gallery director and advisor to the Kappa Pi art honorary, and participated on many university committees.

Greavu’s works have been shown in numerous venues around the country. She has presented from Michigan to Florida and throughout Ohio, including being selected for “Spineless Wonders: Invertebrates as Inspirations,” an exhibit celebrating the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species. She also was a winner of the 26th Rosen Sculpture Competition & Exhibition in North Carolina. Locally, she constructed a fountain for the city of Bluffton, large sculpture commissions for Tiffin University and the Inniswood Botanical Gardens, and her Reef Installation was one of the works in the prestigious citywide Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize exhibition in 2010. In June 2011, ArtSpace/Lima celebrated her career during a retrospective exhibit held at the Ellen Nelson Gallery.

Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second and third editions of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2013–14 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.