Artist Norie Sato visits ISU, shares ‘elemental’ vision


Photo: Nicole Wiegand/Iowa State Daily

Seattle-based artist Norie Sato poses with a portion of her piece “e+l+e+m+e+n+t+a+l,” a chessboard coposed of mainly labratory glass in Hach Hall on Wednesday, April 4. All other ornamentation in addition to the glass is made up of copper and zinc, among other elements, hence the name of the work. A reception for Sato was held on Wednesday evening to honor her contributions to art on campus which can be viewed at Hach Hall and the Palmer Building. 

Alexandra Smith

Norie Sato, a Seattle-based public artist, visited Iowa State to debut the two works she created for the university. In Hach Hall she has a piece called “e+l+e+m+e+n+t+a+l,” while the piece in the Palmer Building is titled “One Now All.” 

Sato likes to incorporate science in her artwork. 

“Science has been apart of my life since I was born,” Sato said. “I think scientist are very close to artist, they are both creative, make connections with things and make ideas visual.”

When Sato starts an art project, she likes to try to think of connections the piece could have to the place it will be displayed. 

Sato began creating her work in Hach Hall by getting as many images as she could from faculty members in the chemistry department. She complied images of chemical patterns, patterns on surfaces, and periodic tables. With these images she came up with the periodic table design for the front doors and the vestibule. 

“I tried to be as close as I could to the actual elements,” Sato said.

For the display case in the building, Sato liked the idea of chemistry glass. She took the glass she gathered from the university and made sculptures of different images she had collected from the chemistry department faculty. She also added different elements and bits of color.

The project she did in the Palmer Building was not in an area Sato was used to working on.

“It is a human development and family planning building which is so different from science and nature,” Sato said.

Sato decided to work with water because it is gentle and soothing, which she believed represented the department. She sandblasted a wall and etched words into it. The words at the top start out light and are simple words. The words darken and become more comprehensive as they move down the wall.

“I wanted it to be like the first words a child learns and then moving down to the last words an adult learns,” Sato said.

Then on the second floor she sandblasted the words: One Now All. “One” meant to mean individual, “Now” was to mean the time and “All” represented the community outside the building.