By Paul Garrod
PAW PAW - A
Paw Paw artist views his latest work of art as "an extension of what I teach
at Western" (Michigan University).
LaVergne's latest composition fabricated in steel, "The
be unveiled on WMU's campus today (Friday) during a 4 p.m. ceremony.
Serving as coordinator of tlie sculpture program at WMU, where he's
been employed for the past decade, LaVergne has been working
as a metal fabricator for the past 25 years.
Thee sculpture, which took 16 months to complete,
weighs approximately 4,000 to 6,000 pounds, and measures 11 feet
and 16 feet long.
"I worked on it during weekends and summer breaks," he
The fabricated steel in places measures one-quarter inch or larger
LaVergne said he spent several hours on each hand and toe of the
four over life-size figures in an acrobatic configuration.
The project was based from a model, LaVergne said, "It (the
sculpture), was like a puzzle. It's designed to be viewed from
"As I evolved in the
piece, I allowed it to change," he said, as he worked
with industrial pipes, welding and grinding them off.
Growing up in Louisiana, LaVergne said he and his siblings used to
build dolls and things, "to amuse ourselves. We couldn't
His work in fabricated steel can be traced back to his early youth
when he visited a blacksmith's shop.
It was fascinating to watch metal change forms," said LaVergne.
The work was tlie last piece commissioned by former WMU President
It also marked the first major commissioned work in Michigan
He has several other commissioned works in Louisiana.
I'm really honored it's going next to the Haenicke Building," he
It was an investigation both in process and human anatomy. The piece
addresses the conflict between human limitations and spiritual expectations.
The struggle to achieve and maintain physical balance develops a
spiritual harmony," said LaVergne.