Larry KIRKLAND, The Medical School at El Paso, Texas Tech University System (USA)

Larry KIRKLAND, The Medical School at El Paso, Texas Tech University System (USA)
The design of the artwork was conceived of as a symbolic connective thread between the two new medical school buildings. The artwork is unique to this community where the long tradition of Hispanic culture permeates all levels of the environment. The selection of form, color and detail within the artwork has been to be in harmony with the architecture of the facility, as well as the series of garden rooms that define the exterior public areas. The sculpture is meant to be a give visual form to the balance of science and the unique community of El Paso this new medical school serves.

The paving of red balmoral granite is engraved with the spiral of DNA and inlaid with additional engravings of flora and fauna from local, regional and global communities. DNA exists in all living things. The understanding of the workings of DNA has spurred major new scientific developments that are having a profound effect on the way medical help can be effectively delivered.

The major sculptural element is a gateway of alternating bands of red and yellow granite. The form is based upon the arched windows and passageways of the two new buildings. The portal cut through is the profile of a head. It suggests both the discoveries of the medical students in their studies and that theses future doctors are treating unique individuals.

The second sculptural element is a second gateway. A red and yellow granite carved head cut through with the form of a keyhole. The flat surfaces of the sculpture are engraved with a floral pattern, recalling patterns in Hispanic design. Hidden within this "garden" are things found in everyday life: the tools we use from day to day. This suggests that each one of us has a unique life that contributes to both our mental and physical health.

At either end of the DNA walk are two black granite sculptures in the form of the keyhole. Cut through the center of each is the image of a key. The surfaces are engraved with images taken from scientific texts; illustrations of the human body, skeletal structure organs and molecular structures. These two pieces suggest that scientific knowledge and investigation is the key to providing the best medical care.

It is my hope that the artwork becomes a meaningful icon for community, for students and staff and neighbors as well. The work strives to be representative of the investigations that occur in medicine and symbolic of the relationship between doctor and patient with the understanding that the best medicine treats the whole person based upon both scientific fact and knowledge of each individual patient.

Larry Kirkland, Artist
Jason Hodges Landscape Architect
The Smith Group Architects