Presented in front of the Campus Life Center (CLC) patio, is “Big Red One”, a large red steel sculpture. The artist behind this section of the audio tour, Hanna Jubran, is a world-renowned artist and sculptor, with one of his pieces “Big Red One” on display currently in front of the CLC patio at the University of South Carolina Upstate. Hardly unnoticeable, the sculpture boasts an abstract form with large cut sheets of steel, covered in red paint. The complete measurements of the sculpture are 12’ x 6’ x 6’ and incorporates numerous rectangular shapes to form two large steel beams that stand tall and three coin shaped structures that are made with the same material, steel. The sculpture’s edges are very sharp and defined, and during different periods of the day it casts a shadow that both extends and retracts to show an almost a humanoid form, because of the coin shaped object on top of one of its pillars. Overall, the structure can be classified as a post-minimalist sculpture, with some elements and influence from modernism and abstract expressionism.
The artist behind the sculpture, Hanna Jubran, received his Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and currently is a professor of Sculpture and is the Sculpture Area Coordinator at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Jubran is an active participant in art shows, with many of his pieces being featured mostly in both North and South Carolina. Many have also been featured internationally in places like Cologne, Germany, Hokkaido, Japan and Quebec, Canada. Jubran’s “Big Red One”, is a sculpture from his collection of metal fabrications that he modeled off of the element of earth, wind, water and fire.
Art movements that this sculpture can be compared to are post minimalism and minimalism. Minimalism is usually defined by abstract pieces, with great emphasis on geometric shape, while post minimalism expands on minimalism, by creating a feeling of texture, while incorporating the use of geometric form. Jubran’s “Big Red One” can be compared to other minimalistic artists such as Anthony Caro, and his work at the Annely Juda Fine Art in London, United Kingdom (this sculpture has no formal name, and is recognized by where it is currently on display. Both pieces choose a bright reflective red to simulate a smooth glossy reflection when putting the pieces under bright lighting or sunlight. However, Jubran’s sculpture is a lot more vertical than the work of Caro’s, which is more grounded.
Jubran’s sculpture also presents some elements from the sculptors in the abstract expressionist movement. Abstract expressionism is usually known for its paintings which use spontaneous and, in some ways, chaotic brush strokes and mark making to create a piece of art with not only lots of movement and visual interest, but also depth. An example of a similar sculpture from the abstract expressionism movement would be Voltri XXI by David Smith. The structure also uses steel, however instead of sharp geometric shapes it creates interest by smoothing its edges as it twists and turns vertically.
Jubran once said “I am emotionally motivated to be creative and a contributor to humanity. For me sculpture and research is an opportunity I cannot ignore.” For Mr. Jubran, creating sculptures is more than just a job or a hobby, it’s a passion. Hanna Jubran’s “Big Red One” is a reflection of the same sentiment he expressed in his quote. “Big Red One” isn’t just a sculpture, it is one of the focal points of our campus and truly a part of our community.