Denver Visiting Artist -Megan McGrain

Megan McGrain

Visiting Artist Denver


Lawrence Argent

In the visiting artist series in Denver, I attended the lecture by Lawrence Argent. He began his lecture with a brief introduction of his early works. He showed us his work of motor oil and ivory soap, showing us his interest in contrasts of smells and the elements. He showed us that his works are sometimes involved with contradictions. He also showed us, “cahonas” and “waiting”, both pieces that came to be after his passion of collecting found items and using them to create pieces with other meanings.

Lawrence’s first major public art piece was at the University of Denver, here in Colorado as he is a professor there. The piece consists of four benches slowly emanating sound as you come and sit on them. The sounds you hear come from different lectures from different classrooms in the university. The lectures you hear are ones you might not hear otherwise. The benches all have a pair of lips as reference to dialogue between one and other, as well as the benches themselves.

Next, Lawrence showed us his piece in Fort Collins, a piece in landscape architecture. Water from each piece jumps into the next piece from computerized water spouts. He explained to us that children now play on this piece, and it was not always accepted as an art form.

Perhaps Lawrence’s most well known piece, “I see what you mean”, is the iconic blue bear in Denver. The bear is up on its hind legs looking into the Denver convention center. Standing at 40 feet tall, this bright blue bear is symbolism for the state of Colorado, and made primarily for tourists to the state.


Lawrence also has had his public works displayed in Vail, Colorado. He came up with the ideas for two pieces, one bronze and the other molecule/ bubble piece. The bronze piece is lit from the inside with fire, and was made from molds and pouring the bronze. The other molecule piece, resembling bubbles or foam, was intended to represent the nature of water in Vail. The piece slowly changes colors from the design of LED lights on the inside.



At the university of Houston in Texas, there is another one of his works. This piece was inspired by the gourd. He chose this because he believes it is an internationally known physical object. The piece is called “Your Move”, because the finished pieces resemble giant game playing pieces. The gourds were made out of solid stones and were carved into and painted. Somehow they are supposed to resound modes of education, but I personally feel like this goal of his does not hold water.

Lastly he showed his work from the San Francisco airport. He incorporated ideas of luggage and objects and baggage for this piece. The rabbit was used because of familiarity and its connections to storytelling and the viewer. The massive red rabbit is suspended from the celling and is jumping down into the suitcase at the baggage claim level at the airport.

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