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Young sculptor’s exhibit brings awareness to labeling

By Staff | Oct 16, 2009

Amy Burns collects labels – lots of them. She has an eclectic collection of labels from food boxes, department stores and candy cartons. She never knew if they had any real purpose. She just knew she liked them.

But several months ago those labels took form, human form.

Names like Ross, Chiclets and Jantzen took on a life of their own – a life in the name of Adam.

Burns, 18 and not out of high school yet, created Adam’s Designation, a papier mache life-size figure that is being exhibited at BIG ARTS Fine Art Sculpture Exhibit. A Juror’s Talk with Mary Voytek, FGCU Sculpture Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, will be held in Phillips Gallery at 4 p.m. on Oct. 17 with artists reception to follow. The works will be displayed from Oct. 5 to Thursday, Nov. 12 at Phillips Gallery at BIG ARTS. Gallery times are Monday through Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.

Phillip Gallery’s first dedicated sculpture exhibit is co-chaired by Jerry Churchill and Cornelia Reina. This exhibit will present fine art sculpture, as opposed to 3/D craft objects, according to a press report.

“It was such an honor to be accepted into this exhibit,” Burns said.

The idea to create Adam who is actually holding the iconic apple in his labeled hand sprung to life out of a need to express her views about labeling. She noted the overt materialism shown during the Oscars. Burns said the stars were given more attentions as to what they were wearing and by whom rather than their performances.

She observed that many people do not get a chance to see a person for who they really are.

“He’s kind of a social commentary for me,” Burns said. “As a society we tend to label everything. It (sculpture) evolved out of that concept.”

The homeschooled teen said she did sketches and consulted with her dad Jim Burns who is a former sculpting teacher.

She wanted to combine her love of bold colors and textures with her social commentary on consumerism and labeling.

The process did not happen over night. At first Burns wanted to throw up her hands and scrap the project which for a while was just a wire leg that she had stuffed under her bed out of sight.

But then after counsel with her dad the project took shape and limbs and a head.

She used a wire frame and wood for stability. Burns wrapped layers of plastic and paper to shape muscles on the well toned- Adonis-like figure. She then papier mached the body and covered it entirely with labels and watered-down Elmer’s glue. Burns said she designed the piece to reflect movement of muscle.

The 25 pound about 5′ 10” figure appears ready to throw a discus in the Olympics. Burns smiles shyly when asked about his hunky and well-toned exterior.

“I like broad shoulders,” she said.

Burns said that Adam stands on platform that is the Yellow Brick Road. Symbolically the bite into the apple represents Adam leaving the Garden of Eden and emergence into consumerism. And the Yellow Brick Road is his path towards getting there.

Burns who is completing college courses along with her senior year of high school hopes to get into some kind or artistic field.

Her parents smiled at Burns first public piece of work.

“I am impressed at how much she learned,” said Beth Burns. “She really made it a learning project”