Cast Metal Sculpture Produced During a Pandemic

"A few weeks ago, I experienced much visual pleasure encircled by stucco architecture in the South West. Leaving Milwaukee for the first time in a year and a half I was suddenly surprised and diverted by the stucco’s aesthetic that mapped the human touch of dozens if not hundreds of people. Of course, all touch imprints, but since lockdown there is a new appreciation for relationships between hand, eye, mind and material.  The stucco artisans are strangers to me; however, I feel connected to them through my hands. Meditating on human touch is a privilege and I am grateful for the opportunity to be surrounded by undulating hand-made architectural surfaces made from the feels of others in the colors of the surrounded landscape.   


It is an huge understatement to say that I am grateful for the touch imprints of the MIAD students in this exhibition.  None of the students are strangers to me, however, quite a few of them I have only known through video meetings on computing machines. I will always remember watching from a far these small works develop over weeks of our 200-level sculpture course. I was unsure if teaching figure sculpture would work online, but I knew I wanted to focus on touch.


Touch is fundamental to humans. It is an essential component of socio-emotional, physical, cognitive and neurological development in childhood and touch is an important form of nonverbal communication throughout life. Touch is also used to convey affection, is central to the provision of comfort and can be used to convey reassurance in times of distress. Touch is a powerful method used to relieve and reduce the suffering of others. When touch is limited or eliminated, people can develop what is termed touch hunger or touch starvation. Touch hunger impacts all facets of our health and has been associated with increases in stress, anxiety and depression. 

Durkin, J., Jackson, D. and Usher, K. (2021), Touch in times of COVID-19: Touch hunger hurts. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 30: e4-e5.


I cannot articulate the profound experience of I had when I first touched these sculptures in their original wax-based clay.  Holding these small fragile pieces helped close an intimacy gap I felt between myself and my online students. There was also a weight of responsibility for the task of translating the clays into metal.  This may be simple nostalgia for the face to face student teacher relationship?  However, I am choosing to believe that there is magic transmitted through our touch imprints and that there are unknown and unknowable facets regarding the social life of things."

Will Pergl


Closing Reception July 31st 6 - 9 PM

Work in this exhibition was produced by 2020/2021 MIAD:




Sonal Jain, Alan Peralta, Mia Pergl



Benjamin Hoffman, Hannah Krenik, Austin Van Sluys


Abi Bean, Kelsey Bowman, Mercer Carmichael-Grandstrand, Hannah Fedor, Margaret Griffin, Gavin Hackney, Amaya Haupert, Darienne Hood, Ryan Kane, Emily Owens, Will Manley, Chloe Schreurs, Jo Willis