MIKE MANDEL MOSAIC TILE PUBLIC ART PROJECTS
University of Texas San Antonio, Academic 3 - San Antonio TX, 2004
UTSA HISTORIES &
One inch porcelain and glass tile
Two murals 32' x 36'
Two pillars 32' x 11'
UTSA Histories: San Antonio has a strong history of a military presence. After World War 2 Bertha Rodriguez accompanied her husband to San Antonio who found work at Kelly Air Force Base. She soon opened her own photography studio. I've chosen to use her image of "army buddies" to represent that period. Next to them is a contemporary UTSA student dressed in military uniform (as well as backpack). Thus, the 1950's are mirrored with present day imagery, but new gender opportunities are recognized.
In the background is the first graduating class of UTSA. The lower image is of Japanese foreign exchange student, from the 70's. She has a strong , direct countenance, a serious pride of graduation. And her parents flank her on either side, her mother in traditional dress. Her father seems to be standing next to a graduating woman in the photograph next to him. The design makes the connection between the 50's army buddies at the top right who just a few years earlier would have been fighting WW2, and the fact the parents of the young Japanese woman would have been from that generation, as well. One generation has bridged the gap.
Architectural Records: The opposite wall design emphasizes a photographic illusion. A person is photographed holding a book open to a page of Mission San Jose that seems to be casting a shadow over a backdrop of the San Antonio. At the close of the 19th century, San Antonio's early mix of colonial-Mexican-Old West inspired architecture was considered unique and out of the mainstream during the push for American modernity characterized by eastern and midwestern cities.
And so, this design counterpoints mission architecture with the San Antonio to come. The right hand page of the book will have an image of the building that one is standing within at UTSA, suggesting the viewer's participation in an ongoing architectural dialogue.