‘Bending Lines: Robert Wiggs’ brings work of beloved Lafayette artist to Hilliard Art Museum

Written byKatherine Frazer


“Bending Lines: Robert Wiggs,” a sculpture exhibition featuring works by a long-time faculty member, is on display at the now through September.

Wiggs is largely remembered for his unique approach to connecting science, sculpture and math — especially for his discovery of the “Twist Octahedron,” the ninth all-space filling polyhedron he discovered in 1987. Wiggs retired from the University’s the same year but remained in Lafayette until his death in 2015.

The exhibition's name draws inspiration from a documentary film by 鶹ҹ alumna Allison Bohl DeHart and her husband Peter DeHart, of the Lafayette-based design studio, . Originally released in 2018, the documentary has found a new life while the exhibition is on display.

Former students and friends of Wiggs gathered to watch a screening of the DeHart’s documentary "Bending Lines: The Sculpture of Robert Wiggs" this spring.

Allison and Peter DeHart behind the scenes on the set of "Bending Lines: Robert Wiggs" documentary.

Bohl DeHart graduated from in 2006, but was not a student of Wiggs. When she embarked on the documentary film, she realized his prominence at the University.

"I was in Fletcher Hall, kind of in the same walls that he was in and the faculty that I learned from was his students,” Bohl DeHart said. “That legacy of thought and knowledge passes down through people."

After the documentary screened, the audience recalled their memories of Wiggs and his legacy in Lafayette. Some audience members were his former students, some were his former friends, and some were members of the community who, similar to the DeHarts, fell in love with his work and wanted to learn more.

One student remembered going to see Wiggs during his office hours, where Wiggs shared with him a new idea he was developing. Decades later, the same student ran into Wiggs at a grocery store, and Wiggs used a random cereal box to explain the concept, as if no time had passed since their original discussion.

Former professor Robert Wiggs holds one of his sculptures.

Some of his former students recounted playing in a fountain he designed in downtown Lafayette while they were growing up. They said they did not realize until later that the fountain from their childhood memories was their professor's work.  

The DeHart's documentary bridges the gap between the artist and the man and connects Wiggs' life's work to the community that grew up with him.

For more information on the exhibition, . To stream or learn more about "," visit BendingLinesFilm.com.

Photo caption: Robert Wiggs left a lasting impact on Lafayette through art and education. Allison Bohl and Peter DeHart’s documentary tells the story of his life. Photo credit: Images courtesy of Makemade