X-Position, 1976

Robert Ellison
(American, born 1946, died 2012)

Location: Washington State University, Pullman


Late artist Robert Ellison created the abstract sculpture X-Position using six modular components. These steel pieces hinge together into a dynamic and playful geometric composition. Featuring curves and a recurring "X" motif, the sculpture interacts with horizontal and vertical lines in the surrounding architecture. Ellison suspended some elements while only allowing the edges of other pieces to touch the ground. He did this to create what he called a "visual contradiction of the actual physical weight of the piece."

This artwork was acquired for the State Art Collection in partnership with Washington State University.


Artist Robert Ellison (1946-2012) was known nationwide for his towering sculptures. Born in Detroit, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Master of Fine Arts degree from Michigan State University and went on to create over three decades of art. He worked in ceramics first, but preferred the permanence of steel, saying: “Every sculpture I’ve ever built is still in existence. If I’m going to spend a lot of time and effort making these pieces, I want them to last forever.” He was also a teacher at College of Marin in California, Michigan State University, Lansing Community College in Michigan, and the San Francisco Academy of Art.

Material CategorySculpture - coated metals
MediumPainted welded mild steel
Dimensions25 ft x 14 ft x 11 ft
ID NumberWSAC1977.034.000
Acquisition MethodDirect purchase
Artist LocationCalifornia, United States
Location Information
AgencyWashington State University
Artwork LocationWashington State University
Stadium Way, between Bustad Hall & Grimes Way
WA CountyWhitman
Site TypeUniversity
AddressWilson Road and NE Stadium Way
Pullman, WA 99164
Geo. Coordinates46.729553, -117.159451
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