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Adam Walls, “Solution” – by Katie Owens

This sculpture is Solution by Adam Walls, an artist and sculptor professor at UNC Pembroke. Included as part of USC Upstate’s permanent collection, Solution is on campus partially due to Walls’ previous position as a professor at the university (“The Artist”). Walls’ painted steel sculpture is surprisingly massive, weighing approximately 450 pounds. This mass helps keep the sculpture securely anchored to its spot on campus. The dimensions of the piece are five feet high, five feet wide, and the overall depth of it is nine feet. The sculpture itself looks like a yellowish-green and purple spaceship with a needle on the back. Towards the middle of the sculpture, there is a tilted diagonal opening that reasonably looks like benches. Adam Walls himself describes the sculpture featuring a seating area in the center as a spot for two people to sit down facing one another to discuss and sort out their problems to compromise and therefore reach a solution (“Solution”). Hence the title, perhaps? Since the sculpture has a diagonal position to it, the tilt is on its side rather than flat facing in a horizontally or vertically straight line. This tilt activates the space to show movement to appear as if the sculpture could blast off into the sky at any given moment. Walls describes Solution as a reflection of the psychological concept regarding play therapy that attempts to understand how children interact with their toys (Butler). He displays this focus in Solution through his imagination to represent concepts behind comics, cartoons, and toys that still fascinate him as an adult (“Solution”). This sculpture reflects his desire to escape the reality of adolescent memories and childhood traumas (“Solution”). Solution is an individually driven sculpture because it demonstrates his identity in escapism to accentuate the idea of childhood games and toys as a focus on the psychological concepts regarding children and coping mechanisms. Shape, scale, line, and color play integral roles in producing the associations of lifelike qualities to this sculpture that perhaps reflect science fiction or fantasy. The form is a big part of representing a child’s toy. The scale is another important aspect because it helps a person put the sculpture into perspective. It seems lifelike as if someone could comfortably sit on it. However, its size looks best suited for children. The children can sit comfortably and face one another to talk or to imagine a pretend scenario of their own (that children often do growing up). Neon color and the implication of line gives off the imaginative concept and compliment together well. The roles of color and implied lines help guide the glance to highlight movement while looking at and around the sculpture. Solution is comparable to pieces of pop art, conceptual art, and other contemporary art. It is worth noting that Solution is similar to sculptures by more widely known artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Jeff Koons due to the existence of underlying meanings and concepts behind the pieces. Solution can, in a way, be viewed as a combination between the similar ideas of Oldenburg and the similar subject matter of Koons in a single form. Overall, Adam Walls’ sculpture, Solution, is up to individual perception. Like most other sculptures, it reflects the role of dimensionality and physicality for the viewer to best place the sculpture into perspective. Solution, in general, is a unique contemporary sculpture that engages viewers by seeking to reactivate imagination in the minds of spectators, perhaps. Solution is, therefore, engaging to the spectator precisely because it allows the individual to create their very own narrative to the piece. By triggering the critical factors of nostalgia, fantasy, and childhood memories, the spectator is entirely made aware of their role as an essential part of Solution’s surrounding environment to, therefore, understand its meaning and fundamental purpose. Furthermore, seeing the sculpture in photos does not at all suffice to the in-person physical experience. Apart from representing self-reflections of memories and traumas of childhood, Solution reflects the importance of individual experience and associations with life and art in general, and it offers an explanation for how the two intertwine.

USC Upstate Outdoor Sculpture
  1. Dan Millspaugh, "Red Sails" - by Brooke Graydon
  2. Daingerfield Ashton, “Untitled arch” – by Matthew Watson
  3. Jim Gallucci, “Gothic Gate” – by Shane Gilmore
  4. Jim Gallucci, "Oracles’ Gate 2" - by Mekayla Bagwell
  5. Winston Wingo, “Gun Amnesty Memorial” – by Scott Turner
  6. Scott Strader, “Tear of Illian” - by Kelsey Imm
  7. Scott Strader, "Annulus" - by Phillip Riser
  8. Hanna Jubran, “Big Red One” – by Tavis Shaw
  9. Adam Walls, “Solution” – by Katie Owens
  10. Adam Walls, “Solution” – by Kristen Lester