Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sculpture in an Artistic Natural Seting

We continued our walk among some sixty sculptures in the Sculpture Garden in New Orleans' City Park.

George Segal
Three Figures and Four Benches

"Regarded as one of the greatest American Pop Artists, George Segal’s figures are unmistakable. He turned to sculpture because it enabled him to place humans in actual space. Like his fellow Pop Artists, Segal attempted to demystify art and make it ordinary and accessible.

"Segal often said that his goal was to capture the paradox of individual solitude in the midst of populous places. These figures are placed in an actual environment of a mundane situation, such as a park bench.

"Segal’s work expresses the loneliness and tensions of modern life. The three figures, intentionally rough and unfinished, sit near each other but do not communicate with each other. All three figures stare off into space wrapped up in their own thoughts. The viewer is forces to contemplate their relationship to each other and with their own environment."

Kenneth Snelson
Virlane Tower

"Sprouting from a lagoon, a slim framework of stainless-steel tubes and cables seems to defy gravity as it extends 45 feet into the air. The spindly column looks fragile, ethereal.

"The sculpture's dramatic setting adds to its allure. Surrounded by water and a wooded shoreline, it reaches for the sky, irresistibly drawing the eye.

"Created by Kenneth Snelson, this structure is the largest artwork in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. It is an example of a 'tensegrity' structure. Tensegrity refers to the force created by tension and compression.

"In his sculptures, Snelson sought to portray in a visible way the interplay of physical forces in space. The tubes do not connect to each other. Instead, a single cable winds through the tubes to hold the structure in place."

Snelson studied engineering and had been a student of Buckminster Fuller, creator of the geodesic dome.

This was puzzling, intriguing, and beautiful.

Midway in our time in the Sculpture Garden, Kate met another Kathleen sitting on one of the benches. After a brief introduction, they began an hour-long conversation about the Garden, restaurants and area attractions, and her experiences in the Katrina aftermath.

Her home and the homes of 25 other families had been completely under water, but as she related their responses--23 families stayed and rebuilt their homes--their resolve showed the character that was probably typical of thousands of others.

Jaume Plensa

Coming upon Jaume Plensa’s sculpture, I was first struck by the human form with light coming through the “shell.” Walking closer, we realized that, as light reflected off the shell’s components, stainless steel letters formed the figure’s outline. Each step brought us to a different view as the reflecting light highlighted a different letter or combination of letters that formed the figure. “Extra” letters flowed onto the base.

"He is a true inventor of forms and is considered by many to be one of the most striking sculptors of his generation. Plensa in speaking of his works has expressed “his belief that our life experiences leave indelible yet invisible marks on us which can be read by those who know us best.''

"Regarding his work as a sculptor, Plensa has said that he
“especially works in the domain of ideas and not really with the matter nor the forms,” adding that “…letters and words became my material now…. (T)he association of the letters, like body cells, can create words in more complex organisms, and the words between them can form a text that, gathered with others, can write a culture.”

Leslie Dill
Standing Man with Radiating Words

Dill's style explores the relationships between language, body, emotion and society. With those few words about the sculptor, we are left to our own interpretation of this work. So, are these words the thoughts of the individual that have been repressed for some time, but are now so overwhelming that they are breaking out in an uncontrolled manner?

Jean-Michel Othoniel
Tree of Necklaces

Even though Mardi Gras parades took place over a month ago, we could still see strands of beads hanging in the tree limbs along the parade routes. So seeing the six strands of multi-color glass beads in this tree seemed quite appropriate for this garden in New Orleans’ City Park.

The artist created the large glass-blown beads in Murano, Italy, and personally oversaw the installation of the necklaces in the trees.

Clearly, this sculpture was effectively and appropriately displayed outdoors, rather than in a gallery. But for all works, surrounded by Nature's gallery enhanced each.

No comments: