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The Artifacts: Larsen’s exhibit opens at IAC

Alabama Center for the Arts Hall of Fame member Bruce Larsen debuted his new exhibit, “Artifacts,” at Troy University’s International Arts Center at Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park Monday night.

The IAC hosted a reception for the renowned Alabama sculptor prior to the opening of the new exhibit.  Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. and First Lady Janice Hawkins joined Troy University faculty members and students and members of the Troy community in welcoming Larsen as an exhibitor at the International Arts Center.

Carrie Jaxon, curator of the IAC, said “Artifacts” consists of sculpted animals and objects that Larsen has found.

“Bruce Larsen calls himself a modern archeologist and that’s understandable because he takes found objects and uses a more contemporary approach in turning them into works of art,” Jaxon said. “His sculptures are not only beautiful, they preserve pieces of the past and tell stories. In these found objects, Bruce Larsen is able to see the beauty and hear the stories that others aren’t able to see and know until he turns them into art. He creates something beautiful and preserves the pieces of the past.”

Larsen said he was born to do what he does. “It took me 20 years to discover it but I was born to do this,” he said of his artwork. “When I was a child, I was always running around and finding things. I love to walk in the woods and along the beaches and find things. I’ll discover an object that reminds me of something or tells a story. My sculptures are pieces of life. It all has a sense of passion.”

Some of Larsen’s found objects are reminiscent of sacrifices that have been made or mistakes made or of things almost forgotten.

Sometimes these objects of the past actually come to him.

“Walking along the beach on day and a piece of driftwood with long nails driven into it washed ashore and came to me,” Larsen said. “The piece of driftwood probably came from the bow of a ship – a 150-year old ship. It ‘came to me’ or maybe it was just a part of a journey.”

From the piece of driftwood, Larsen created a sculpture titled, “Ship.”

Internationally acclaimed artist and gallery artist Nall attended the reception for Larsen and expressed great admiration for the sculptor’s work. “Bruce is such an incredible artist. I greatly appreciated his work,” Nall said and added with pride in his fellow artist’s talent, “I’m frustrated because there is nothing to criticize about his work. I can’t find one thing to criticize.” “Artifacts” will on exhibit at the International Arts Center until February 1.

The exhibition includes two wall-mounted sculptures titled “Free” and “Harvest” that were purchased by Nall and donated to the IAC.

“I can think of nothing that would make me happier than to have Bruce’s sculptures a part of the IAC permanent collection,” Nall said.  Larsen said he was honored to have his work on exhibit at the IAC. “I’m an Alabama boy and I love this state,” he said. “I’m blown away by the International Arts Center. It is aesthetically designed and what Troy University is doing to bring international art and artists to Alabama is incredible. It’s a no brainer.