A once monochromatic parking garage set on South Campus next to UNC Hospitals — Craige Parking Deck— has become home to one of the Ackland Art Museum’s ongoing exhibitions, entitled “Drawn to Explain.”
The project, a representation of different disciplines and departments across UNC, began in 2019 with the selection of London-based artist Amalia Pica to execute it and was completed this fall.
Cary Levine, an associate professor of art history, said that when the project began, Pica wanted to create something responsive to the local context and University setting.
With the help of graduate student Erin Dickey, Pica met with more than 50 faculty members and students across a variety of fields including medicine, natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. With them, she discussed the role of visual imagery in their work and research.
“That was the genesis and raw material from which the project was derived,” Levine said.
Pica used powder-coated aluminum elements and paint on the exterior of the parking deck to create the diagrams and symbols suggested by faculty, staff and students.
"She has this passion for what the University does and investigating what the University does and making that the sort of central theme of the piece," Peter Nisbet, deputy director for curatorial affairs at the Ackland, said.
The piece's meaning derives from the role of the visual in research and teaching, he added.
The visuals range from a grid representing the “rule of thirds,” a guide for composing effective photographs, to a diagram representing UNC professor Aziz Sancar’s work with DNA repair that earned him the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.