Points of Interest

The Rip

The Rip (2011), sculpted by Gary Bibbs, was donated to Centre by Duane van Horn ’68 and now stands in front of Chowan. Van Horn commissioned the stainless steel artwork, which depicts a ripsaw in motion, in 1994 to capture and honor the art and spirit of woodworking.

“As my company, Bluegrass Woodworking of Kentucky, grew to become a national and international player in the mid-nineties, I wanted to find a dynamic symbol that would represent the company to the marketplace,” says van Horn.
As design submissions for the sculpture came in, van Horn was not initially drawn to “The Rip”. “My first reaction to Gary’s model was, ‘I don’t like it.’ But the more I studied the entries, the more ‘The Rip’ seduced me with its boldness and static energy.”

Bibbs, who studied under internationally renowned sculptor Richard Hunt, is an associate professor of sculpture and art at the University of Kentucky. Many of his other pieces are also displayed prominently outdoors, including sculptures at the UK Kentucky Clinic and the Louisville Fire Department headquarters.

Centre president John Roush believes that “The Rip”’s current location in front of Chowan is an apt tribute to the kind of labor that was once prevalent in that area.

“The sculpture serves as a reminder that the west end of campus was previously an active, working warehouse district. Even more, it’s a ‘tip of the hat’ to the lumberyard previously located directly across the street from where ‘The Rip’ now stands and adjacent to Centre’s facilities management building that represents high-quality workmanship,” says President Roush. “We are grateful to Duane for combining his love of public art and Centre in such a creative way.”

Van Horn believes that Centre is the perfect home for “The Rip” because it adds something unique to the fabric of the College.