The large bronze sculpture that stands proudly in front of Hughes Hall, even without a plaque identifying it, is Bruce Beasley’s work Quest, installed in 2007. Quest stands at 16 feet tall by 10 feet wide and 7 feet deep[1] and is visible from inside the buildings nearby as well as from the sidewalks and roads that pass near it. It is named after the quest for and dissemination of knowledge that is at the core purpose of a university. In his artist’s statement, Beasley explains how Quest represents this search. The base of the sculpture is a metaphor for the scientific method, as it is the foundation of science. It has allowed mankind to understand reality objectively as scholars. The two vertical columns hold the upper part and represent institutions, such as universities, and guiding principles that support the work of scientists. The active composition at the top of the work simulates a crystal growing, which represents the people that make up a scientific team.[2] Each member is a separate part of the team that grows and changes with time, which in turn contributes to the growth and changing of the team as well as other individuals.

            Quest was chosen by a university committee in a competition managed by the Ohio Percent for Art program. This choice was due to its abstract nature and the location it is in, both at the university and in front of the Chemistry and Biochemistry building. The structure stands straight upward for its representations of the value of truth and knowledge that are uncovered in scientific discovery, particularly just inside Hughes Hall.[3] Quest is like many other works by Beasley, who focuses on crystalline form due to an interest in the combination of randomness and structure that is necessary for growth. Beasley has been active in sculpture making since 1960 but started with bronze in 1987. By 2003 when Quest was installed, he had created about 70 bronze sculptures for public locations, and now has over 80. Each of them has been said to reconcile contradictions between the planned and accidental while being neither representative nor narrative and instead pure form.[4] This type of abstraction is something that many artists strive to find, especially in the era of modern art. Beasley displays abstract forms in many of his works while still giving each its own identity, a rare trait which can be seen with Quest.

[1] “Hughes Hall." Percent for Art. Accessed April 02, 2018. http://www.oac.ohio.gov/OhioPercentForArtProjects.

[2] Beasley, Bruce. Bruce Beasley: Artist's Statement. Bruce Beasley. Accessed April 2, 2018.

[3] Beasley, Bruce. "Quest (2003) at Miami University." E-mail message to author. April 13, 2018.

[4] Beasley, Bruce. "Public Sculptures." Bruce Beasley. Accessed April 02, 2018. http://brucebeasley.com/public-sculptures/.