Faculty art enhances downtown
May 22, 2020
At the corner of Adams and Ocean, the newest sculpture in Jacksonville — “Progression” by Lance Vickery — now graces the exterior of the Jessie Ball duPont Center. Constructed with 48 powder-coated pigeon-blue aluminum plates, the artwork stretches 22 feet and is six-and-a-half feet tall.
Vickery, assistant professor of sculpture at UNF, explained that his design begins with style elements on each end that match the mid-century modern architecture of the 1965-era duPont Center. As the sculpture progresses to the middle, it incorporates a more contemporary look. “It’s not only looking back, but it also projects into the future,” Vickery said. “I wanted the piece to have some connection to the building as well as a feeling of newness.”
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund, owner of the Center, commissioned the sculpture to honor recently retired and longtime Fund president Sherry Magill and chose Vickery’s design over those submitted by three other local artists. Vickery produced the work as part of Havic Studios LLC, a collaborative studio practice he shares with Jenny Hager, professor of sculpture at UNF.
With a full teaching schedule, research and other Havic Studios’ projects to complete, Vickery said the sculpture took about one year to finish. After creating his vision using CAD software, Vickery said the project involved decisions on materials, planning for installation and constructing two small models, at one-tenth and then one-quarter the full size. Along the way, Vickery said he worked in cooperation with duPont Fund architects, its engineering firm and landscape architects, as well as local fabrication shops.
“It’s a long process and bringing the sculpture to reality is always part art and part science,” Vickery said. “There are a lot of little decisions along the way that can affect the outcome, and I’m always nervous until the day it’s actually installed.”
For this project, Vickery said he discovered an unexpected feature when he walked around the piece to shoot a video after installation. It was then he noticed that the powder coating was so reflective that it acted as a mirrored surface, making the passing cars appear and disappear in an almost hypnotic way.
“I hadn’t even considered that as a possibility, and although it was a positive, it shows that you don’t really know how the whole thing is going to work out until you get to the end,” Vickery said. “That’s part of the joy and also the consternation.”
See the complete sculpture in a video taken by the artist.