Rod Library--Special Collections
Title: "Nature's Secret"
Sculptor: Janet Loftquist
Location: North side of Latham Hall
Date Installed: September 1994
Description: "Nature's Secret" is composed of three different elements. The first element consists of five limestone rocks formed 425 million years ago. The rocks, quarried near Anamosa, Iowa, suggest a geological time frame for the region.
Bronze cylinders, inserted into each of the stones, compose the second element of the sculpture. These cylinders show the changing positions of the Big Dipper in the last million years.
The final element of the sculpture is a group of "three spherical forms with a barb-like surface to represent microscopic ragweed pollen grains" (Campus News Network, 6/20/94)
Loftquist intended her sculpture to "reflect the context of the surrounding buildings with the park-like landscape of campus" (Campus News Network, 6/20/94). She wanted the artwork to suggest "a sense of time and place within the Iowa landscape. The sculpture's forms not only refer to the natural phenomena found within the region, but symbolically comes to represent our relationship with nature; attempting to uncover and understand that which is hidden and unknown" ( A Guide to Sculptures on Campus, 1996).
Loftquist believes that the sculpture can be looked at in many different ways. She stated in the June 20 Campus News Network that some may look at the work entirely on an artistic level, and others from a scientific standpoint, finding the sculpture symbolic in its representation of forces in nature.
Compiled by Jonathan Russell, edited by Susan Basye
Special Collections and University Archives