Monday, July 14, 2008

Work in Progress

The working model of the sculpture, held in place by David Strauss and ably assisted by Chris Armes, both of SHKS Architects. Constructed of a true madrona branch and red painted paper, the piece serves as an indicator of scale and overall appearance for the indoor sculpture.

Context and Initial Thoughts

From top to bottom:
Arbutus menziesii illustration, courtesy of Southwest School of Botanical Medicine's fabulous resource.
Bead/Flow, installation by the artist at Port Angeles Fine Art Center, Washington.
Pomegranate detail of bronze frame sculpture at Aereoporto Galileo Galilei, Pisa, Italy.
Ilex pollen grain illustration by the artist.
Stair and railing detail of Magnolia library 34th street entrance.


Children waiting for the opening of the original Magnolia Bluff Station of the Seattle Public Library. The window, the anticipation, the treasures inside.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Magnolia Library Artwork

Catch + Release is a pair of site-specific sculptures created for the Magnolia Library: a branch suspended from the ceiling of the meeting room above the south window and a basket outside the south window. The pieces connect interior to exterior, recall the landscape history of the Magnolia Library site and allude to the function of the library and the patrons who use it.

The interior branch is woven of blackened annealed steel wire using a basket technique, and studded with large, handmade red and orange polyurethane resin beads. This structure hangs from the ceiling at an angle that is visible from the main part of the library, gesturing toward the south window. This window forms a connection to the exterior basket, which is located just outside. Constructed of stainless steel, additional cast resin beads are suspended on the basket’s vertical ribs. Light and shadow also link the two sculptures: the branch is lit from a high angle toward the south wall, broadcasting shadowy lines from the wire and ghostly color from the resin, while the basket is lit from below, illuminating the “berries” and reflecting off the basket in the dark.

The madrona tree around which the original building and landscape architecture was designed provides the conceptual framework for Catch + Release. The suspended branch and its resin beads mimic the mature fruiting arbutus, and invite nature inside the building; outside, the basket captures additional berries. The title Catch + Release refers to these actions of fruiting and gathering, paired activities of nature and humans that work as a metaphor for the relationship between library as information provider and patrons as collectors and disseminators.