A bust of Julien Dubuque, sculpted by Clarke University Assistant Professor of Art Jessica Teckemeyer, was unveiled on Nov. 19 at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium by the Dubuque County Historical Society.
Teckemeyer’s depiction was based on physical evidence and the scientific drawings created by forensic artist Karen T. Taylor.
Teckemeyer, who teaches ceramics and sculpture at Clarke, finished the bust in October. She estimated it took more than 125 hours to complete.
"Forensic science is actually a place I thought I'd end up if sculptures didn't work out, so it's great to be able to dabble in it," she told the about 15 people in attendance.
The hardest part was sculpting the lips, she told the TH.
"Lips are always really difficult," Teckemeyer said. "In nature, there are no hard lines. Even though our lips look very distinct because of coloration, there are no lines there, so in sculpture, you have to sort of find that line between having an edge and not having an edge to make it look realistic."
Teckemeyer was selected to create the Julien Dubuque bust because of past commissions for internationally known artist Siah Armajani. The most recent commission for Armajani was a double-sided sculpture of St. Augustine beheaded. The artwork is currently on view in London. Through images of the St. Augustine sculpture, the Dubuque County Historical Society was able to see her ability to render anatomy, particularly facial features and she was selected from a pool of local artists.
The works will be on display indefinitely in the concourse of the Woodward Mississippi River Discovery Center of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Also on display is a 3D digital representation by Tony Reynolds.
They were funded by Mediacom and the Arts and Culture grants from the city of Dubuque.
Teckemeyer also recently received a $9,000 Iowa Arts Grant to support her labor to create two sculptures titled “Devour” and “Impact” for her latest series “Meeting Our Shadow." The goal for the series is to explore the dark side of human nature in order to engage discussion with audiences about healing our “collective shadow” which includes violence, racism, discrimination and war. Through research, the creation of two sculptures, exhibition, and gallery talks, the project seeks to stimulate conversation about how communities can unite to heal our past. Exhibition proposals featuring the new work will be sent to Iowa museums and galleries across the state for the opportunity to build stronger communities. She said the desired impact is to transform people through art.