The Olympic Sculpture Park (OSP) in Seattle is a public place to be cherished, relished and visited often. The variety of the art items on display as well as the ingenious ideas behind them are a treat for the eyes and the mind. The sculptures that I’ve chosen for this write-up are as follows: Wake, Eye Benches, Father and Son and Love and Loss. A brief description follows.
Created by Richard Serra and installed in 2004, Wake is a one of a kind experience. I say experience because, as the artist had noted, the visitor is the subject and not the curvy sheets of steel that rise from the ground. Two sheets of identical weathering steel make the curvy objects that are called Ws or Wiggles. In order to fully appreciate the transcendent beauty of the work, one needs to walk the spaces between the Ws. The space between the two enclosing objects will constantly morph to give a unique experience to the walker. I much enjoyed this novel idea of travel through space.
Love & Loss is intended public utility. It is an aesthetically designed public sitting space. The seats and benches are crafted to the shapes of letters forming Love & Loss. Sitting there and simply gazing at the surrounding scenery is a relaxing experience that I quite enjoyed. This work of art was made by Roy McMakin and installed in OSP in 2004. Concrete, paint and enamel are the basic building material. The constant wear and tear of this construction has led to several refurbishing, which have taken the sheen off its original beauty.
The Father and Son statue work installed in the midst of a water fountain is poetry and philosophy wrung into sculpture. This masterpiece by Louise Bourgeois is made of a conglomeration of metals steel, aluminum and bronze. The water fountain is conceptually the key, as it reveals and hides the statues of the father and the son to various degrees dynamically. Working to a pre-programmed schedule, the two fountains installed beneath the statues will rise and fall showing either the father or the son at a time. It attempts to symbolically show the innate difficulty in a father-son relationship, where strong bonds are seldom seen. Perhaps the Oedipal impulse in the boy-child never lets him connect strongly with the father. The outstretched arms of the two statues is a moment frozen for eternity and shall never consummate the underlying intent, namely to reach and hold the other figure. This work made me think a lot and I took pleasure in the intellectual stimulation it offered via the dynamic visual show.
Finally, another eye-catching feature of Olympic Sculpture Park is the Eye Bench, which is placed at several places within the premises of the park. Once again, it is Louise Bourgeois who had conceived and created these artifacts. Made of black granite stone from Zimbabwe, one side of the bench shows the human eye with the eye-lids forming the periphery. The other side has a flat surface that serves as a park bench. Placed usually in a pair, looking at Eye Benches gave me the eerie feeling of that I am being watched, perhaps by Big Brother. The work captures the spirit of OSP, namely, to combine aesthetics with utility.
Hence, I largely enjoyed my time spent in OSP, I recommend it to all patrons of art.