Noted not only for its involved technical process as well as subject matter, Scale: Interior Central Section is a unique artwork created by Cheryl Goldsleger. Made of layered wax, pigment, graphite and incising, this artwork cannot be claimed as a drawing or painting, but possibly as its own category of form.
This artwork, which was created for Beardshear Hall, is often compared to the complex relationship between Iowa State’s administrative system and the campus bureaucracy. A jumble of intricate practices, these two interactions are akin to the overlapping lines and forms found in Goldsleger’s work of art. Beardshear houses these two offices, as they interact and cooperate together, overlapping their own order and logic.
As a student at Iowa State, I can relate to Scale: Interior Central Section in a slightly different light, comparing it to two important moments of my college career. To me, college is a contained yet infinite space in itself. As a freshman, I greeted college with an anxious stomach. My choice to attend college was precise; however, what I was going to gain from college was not yet clear. When I first saw Goldsleger’s artwork, I too felt uneasy. The complicated structure looks meticulously conscious and deliberate, yet the form and space feels unknowing.
As I continued along in my education, I finally gained a major in which to study and also the confidence to pursue it. Now, as I approach my last year at Iowa State, I have begun to encounter another uncomfortable feeling. Many students see graduation as a troublesome event, something that will lead us into the “real” world. It is in this real world that many college graduates will encounter the harsh realities of job applications, interviews, and possible employment rejections. I see this feeling again in Goldsleger’s piece, as the various spaces are filled with multiple viewpoints. There is clarity yet a sense of undefined limitation.
Iowa State has given us structure, but the structure is ours to transform. What each student gains from college is different, as is what they choose to do in their lives after college.
This painting is currently on exhibition in the Christian Petersen Art Museum in Morrill Hall as part of the Subject to Change exhibition. Spend time looking at Scale: Interior Central Section, and see what feeling and interpretation it has for you.
By Molly Larson