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Oklahoma State University

"DNA IV" campus sculpture

DNA IV, 2018
Bronze sculpture
12 feet in height and 18 feet in width
Sculpted by Bill Barrett

Made possible in partnership with the Art in Public Places Program, Oklahoma Arts Council, and Oklahoma State University
Newly installed in front of the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts.

Dedication on Campus: September 27, 2019 | 1:30 PM | OSTATETV

Reception and open house: September 27, 2019 | 2 PM



Bill Barrett’s DNA IV is the most majestic of the artist’s important DNA sculpture series that includes six original sculptures of varying sizes and designs.  In creating DNA IV, the artist sculpted a small-scale preliminary model from wax.  The model was then used to create a cast bronze maquette in 2011. The maquette is approximately 12 to 14 inches in height and 16 to 18 inches in width.

The maquette became the basis for a collaboration between the artist and his highly skilled fabricator craftsman with whom the artist has worked for many years in assisting him to translate his maquettes into larger-scale sculptures rendered in sheet bronze.  During the period 2017 and 2018 DNA IV was engineered for stability and lift in order to allow enlargement to reach the monumental size specifications of the artist for the sculpture.  Based on templates derived from this engineering process, the bronze sheet metal was carefully cut and then skillfully welded to assemble the flowing forms and armatures that comprise final monumentally-scaled work based on the original design and the maquette. 

DNA IV measures approximately 12 feet in height and 18 feet in width.  Identifying characteristics, found throughout the DNA series, are the twisted ribbon shapes and the lyrically elegant, flowing, organic order of elements.  A minimal footprint supports the twisting ribbon shapes that comprise the sculpture allowing expansion upward and outward while creating balance. Open spaces between connected shapes are as important in experiencing the sculpture as the bronze fabricated shapes. 

A number of the maquettes for the 6 different sculpture designs comprising the DNA series have been enlarged and fabricated in sheet bronze, and are now in prominent collections around the country.  The artist considers DNA IV as one of his most accomplished and artistically important sculptures in a career that spans more than 60 years.