Wednesday, March 16, 2011

John Payne's Dino Kinetics

I was fortunate to see the work of the late John Payne in Asheville, North Carolina over the weekend. I work with his son Trevor Payne who told me about his Father's work when I mentioned I was taking a 3D art class. Please click on the links below to view his work.

Website w/ video inside the exhibit

John Payne's dinosaur sculptures are fascinating. Payne studied pre-historic creatures and used his amazing creativity and engineering talents to create interactive kinesthetic sculptures of life-sized dinosaurs. The dinosaurs are built from steel and crafted to have functioning joints so they move exactly as the creature would have moved. The sculptures are hooked up to playstation controls and allow the viewer to be in control of the movement of the creature (AMAZING!!!). They are simply unlike anything I have seen. Payne crafted each skeleton by hand along with a crew of assistants, who pounded each piece of steel. Each skeleton is completely one of a kind. Unfortunately Payne's family is having trouble finding a permanent home for these amazing sculptures, so hopefully they can be enjoyed and not wasted living in storage. I felt very fortunate to get to see such inspirational work by such a talented artist, he left us with some amazing work I hope is enjoyed for a long time to come.

The Thompson Elk

For the final First Thursday assignment I felt it would be suiting to choose a local public art piece. This sculpture is located downtown on Main Street between the two Plaza Blocks. It is position in the middle of the street and I have always thought that it was an interesting location choice for a statue being that its surrounded by moving vehicles and not easily accessible to view.

I had never got close enough to the statue to notice the inscription, due to it's location, until I purposely visited the statue. I discovered that the statue had been erected in 1900. This made much more since for it's interesting location in the road way being that the city grew around the statue as opposed to being constructed in the road way. I also learned that there have been several attempts to have the statue removed, but these have been foiled when the statue was designated as a Historical Landmark in 1974.

The statue was commissioned by David P. Thompson who served as Portland's mayor from 1879-1882, assisted with building the first Oregon railroad and was Captain in the First Oregon Calvary. Thompson commissioned the American sculpture and painter Roland Hinton Perry to create the sculpture as a gift to the City. Perry has crafted a number of monuments that can be found in Gettysburg, Washington D.C. and the Library of Congress to name a few. The fountain that surrounds the elk was constructed by local architect H.G. Wright. The fountained was crafted from eastern granite and designed to function as a water trough for horses and dogs. Another interesting fact I read was that the Exalted Order of Elks (aka Elks Lodge) refused to dedicate the statues stating that it was "a monstrosity of art". It seems that this Elk statue has had a rough history, but after so many years it still stand as a historic Portland landmark.
The sculpture of the elk is made from casted bronze. The elk was made to be life-sized and realistic, achieving both very well. The gesture of the elk with it's head swooping upwards and it's antlers cascading downwards gives the statue a feeling of movement and grandeur. The fountain around the elk was crafted from granite and functions as both a pedestal for the elk and as a surrounding fountain. The fountained was built in a hexagonal shape with 3-level stairs encircling the perimeter. I feel that the piece as a whole has variety and balance that result in a appealing art piece altogether. I also am appreciative of any piece of art, especially pubic, that serves a functional purpose, in this case the fountain being intended as a water trough. On the other hand I can't but help enjoy the humor in cars having to swerve around the elk statue as they drive by, like dodging a dear in the road. I enjoy this piece as apart of Portland's public art and learning it's history made me enjoy it even more.
-Lindsey Dixon

Monday, March 14, 2011

New, free iPhone app maps public art around Portland

Not that I have an iphone, or ever will, but...

public_art.jpgView full sizePublicArtPDX
Take a look around next time you're downtown. Sculptures, fountains, arches and paintings are everywhere -- but it's easy to miss them amid the bustle and hustle of a hurried day.

So pause a moment, pop out your iPhone and download a new, free app -- Public Art PDX.

It maps 429 pieces of public art around Portland, from the imposing Portlandia statue to an electronic reader board silently displaying poems to passersby on Southwest 10th Avenue.

Click on the app to see where you are and a map of what's around you. Each listing comes with the name of the artist, the artwork's history and very often a photo and detailed description.

"I've always been a big fan of public art in Portland, and even I didn't realize how many pieces there are," said Matt Blair, a 36-year-old freelance software developer who crafted the app as a "gift" to his adopted city.

The app will be a neat complement to a public art brochure that's already popular with tourists and residents, according to Megan Conway, communications vice president for Travel Portland, which markets Portland to tourists.

"We definitely see this as something visitors will use," she said.

To make his app, Blair compiled listings of the city's public art from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, which maintains both the public art collection and information about all the art.

Portland has abundant public art because of a 1980 "Percent for Art" ordinance, which initially required that publicly funded, capital construction set aside 1 percent of the project's cost for art. That total has since increased to 2 percent, according to Jeff Hawthorne, the arts and culture council's director of community affairs.

The council had already been working to put information about Portland's public art online through the nonprofit organization's website, according to Hawthorne. It made the data available to Blair in keeping with Portland's "open data" initiative, which seeks to give software developers access public information in hopes they will make it more accessible to the public.

But simply making the data available doesn't necessarily make it easy to use. To craft his app, Blair spent weeks converting RACC's data into a useful format and ensuring that it's presented in compliance with legal licenses that govern each piece of art.

"It's been a substantial amount of the project," he said, "to make sure people got the credit they deserve and to make sure the information was presented accurately and with integrity to the original artist."

Portland hopes a community of developers like Blair will take a leadership role in the city's open data initiative, according to, Rick Nixon, project manager for Portland's Civic Apps program.

Public entities aren't in the business of creating apps, he said, and shouldn't be. But he said they can provide the data that make these apps possible.

"The momentum that we build really needs to be owned by interested community members," he said.

Portland's Civic Apps attracted only modest interest initially, in part because it can be difficult to transfer city data into a format everyday people would find useful.

But Blair, who won a city-sponsored Civic Apps award last year for an app listing Portland's "heritage trees," said it's worth the effort.

"You can take the data out of the desktop and put it out in the real world, so people can discover things about their environment," he said.

For the moment, the app is only available for the iPhone and other Apple devices. But Blair said he compiled the data in a manner that makes it easy for someone to transfer the information to an app for another device -- running Google's Android operating system, for example.

"That's not something I will personally develop," Blair said, but "I'm very much open to having someone else build off this."

Scores of apps have emerged to give mobile phone users an augmented view of their reality. The most prominent may be "Google Goggles," which performs a Web search for information about anything a mobile phone user photographs.

Other apps using Portland data map the city's food carts, track transit arrival times, and facilitate citizen reports of potholes, graffiti and other issues that need the city's attention.

Slightly more than 600 people downloaded Blair's trees app. He expects a considerably wider audience for his public art app, both among tourists and residents who want to see more of the world around them.

And Blair said he intends to build out the app with additional data from TriMet and Metro to provide detail about more artwork around the city.

"I would expect there will be hundreds more (pieces) added in the coming months," he said. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Public Art Installation: Night Sky Walkway

There are approximately 1800 holes that have been drilled into this 4 foot design.
3 Different drill bits were used to give "stars" varied luminance.

Proposal (Click to view PDF)
Budget (Click to view PDF)

Jeremy Wenrich

First Thursday: Jeffry Mitchell (Pulliam Gallery)

Jeffry Mitchell’s show pot & snowflake is currently on display at Pulliam Gallery. The pieces are largely made up of glazed pots and paper cutouts pressed between panes of glass.

The pots have distortions in their forming, some more exaggerated than others. Holes and cuts are punctured into the material. Animal, floral and geometrical designs are etched into the exterior. Each pot is glazed and the drippings are not corrected, allowing them to coexist with the ever so slightly malformed pot.

The glass panels containing the large rectangular snowflake paper cuts are duct taped together. Viewed alone, a piece can seem to be at undergraduate level crafting skills. The consistency between the many works helps to negotiate this observation. While mostly two dimensional due to the flat surfaces, the attachment of different glass planes together raises this as a sculptural piece. A level of interaction is presumably present as well. The planes seem fully movable, like a doors connected to each other, each able to swing in any direction off the next.

There is a cohesion to what seems to be a carefully perfected aesthetic throughout the installation. The artist has produced many pieces in the same style. The malformations and seemingly unprofessional crafting skills are purposeful.

Jeremy Wenrich

Friday, March 11, 2011

Trophiphying my Trophy

So I finally have pictures to post of my re-done trophy for little grandma. The first issue that I addressed was the securing of the flowers so that they where fully attached to the trophy. I did so by glueing the floral wet foam into place and then poking the stems into it.

The second and third items that I added to make it more trophy-esque was a base and a little plaque. I chose to paint the base white and added a darker pink and yellow to the layered edges. I also added layered paper for the plaque to make it as clean as possible. Both items are attached with glue, and the colors where chosen to complement the flowers.
And this is it with all of its upgrades!

-Amy Grider

Also, I wasnt able to re do my picture of my presentation of the trophy to my grandma, When I got home I realized I didnt have any pictures at my house.

Final First Thursday

For my final First Thursday I decided that I was going to go along the lines of our public art project with these wonder functional bike racks that are placed throughout the Pearl district in NW Portland.

These adorable little bike lockup area/posts are little replicas of the Freemont Bridge. The base of the structure has blue in reference to the Willamette below while the rest is constructed in grey steel (I’m guessing) that even includes little cars, trucks, and semi’s driving on the bridge.

I had never thought of these pieces as art until we went on our public art “field trip” and we where pointed out those tacky looking orange bike post/path markers. I truley love how these reference a local structure while making it so useful.

-Amy Grider

Thursday, March 10, 2011

First Thursday

In identifying with the theme of my final project I choose to write about Newberg Skate Park as my final First Thursday assignment. Although many people may not consider this art, I in fact believe that it takes quite the creative mind to think up and put into action a design that serves as a fully functioning park to various people. This "sculpture" is indefinitely interactive with its subject and may include kinetic pieces. The most important aspect of a skate park is its ability to provide a flowing rhythm not only to the eye but those who are skating. When it comes to size the Newberg Skate Park is one of the larger scaled ones in the area. Particular ledges and objects are a result of unity and harmony, every detail is interactive and relies upon one another. Although to many this skate park would look only as a concrete jungle, but to those who can understand it and appreciate it, it is truly a work of art.

- Katie Clemens

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First Thursday - BASALT: A sight specific work by Eric Franklin

I was exploring campus and stumbled upon the new exhibit at the Autzen Gallery. I thought it was empty or under construction before I noticed the giant glass sculpture taking up the majority of the space. The freestanding transparent glass installation consisted of table-like shapes that had an alternating rhythm with scale and created variety with the form that seemed to progress to the largest point in the center. It's largest feature seemed to be placed in the center, adding to it's dominance and creating a sense of radial balance. The repetitive simplicity of smooth, clear glass was interrupted with the downward direction of the eye getting drawn in by the light-catching bulbs present in the slender, delicate pillars that hold up this elegant structure. I would recommend that everyone check it out. It's just down the hallway from class.

Michelle Caldwell

Monday, March 7, 2011

I forgot about this!!

The is just a draft, some of the grids got a bit messy.

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admin Last Name

First Thursday: (Third Paper)

The piece that I choose to critique was the Theodore Roosevelt Statue, located in the Park Blocks, right outside of the Portland Art Museum.  This is a copyright symbol that dates back to 1922.  It was a gift that was donated to the City of Portland by Dr. Henry Waldo Coe (1857-1927), who was actually a friend of Roosevelt.  The sculpture cost $40,000 dollars to create.  The groundbreaking ceremony was preformed by Vice-President Calvin College on August 15, 1922.  The sculpture was the subject in a film entitled, “The Making of a Bronze Statue”.  Furthermore, the film was created by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to document the process of creating a bronze monument.  
This is basically a large sculpture of Theodore Roosevelt mounted on a horse said to be shown as a Rough Rider.  He is wearing his cavalry uniform, wide brimmed hat and glasses.  He is carrying sword on his left side and a pistol on his right.  It is a vary detailed figurative bronze casting.  The horse was modified after a suggestion from General Leonard Wood.
On the base of this statue, there is a plaque which states the following:
He was found faithful over a few things and he was made ruler over many.  He was Frail; He made himself tower of strength.  He was timid; He made himself a lion of courage.  He was a dreamer;  He became of of the Great doers of all time.  Men put their trust in him; women found a champion in him; kings stood in awe of him, but children made him their playmate.  He broke a nation’s slumber with his cry, and rose up .  Souls became swords through him; Swords became servants of God.  He was loyal to this country, and he exacted loyalty of God.  He loved many lands, but he loved his own land best.  He was terrible in battle, but tender to the weak.  Joyous and tireless.

BASALT, Eric Franklin

Basalt is an installation at Autzen Gallery at PSU's Nueberger Hall. He has taken a distinct element of the Pacific Northwest geology--basalt--and transformed it from massive stone outcroppings into spindly glass. Anyone who has been to Latourell Falls on the Columbia Gorge will be familiar with the hexagonal columns formed by cooling lava. At the falls they form strangely geometric outcroppings from the surrounding cliffs. Eric Franklin has chosen to represent this shape using only the edges. Thin glass rods are welded together in repeated patterns, suggesting a solid form, but created almost entirely out of negative space. About six feet high and twelve or so feet long, the installation fills the middle of the gallery. The glass rods themselves are only about a quarter of an inch thick, and remind me of melting icicles as the light passes through them. Tension is created from the dichotomy between actual stone as it exists in our memory, and the fragile forms we see here. It was not hard to imagine a clumsy visitor tripping into the sculpture and bringing the whole contraption down.

Toward the entrance of the gallery, the forms are smaller and more numerous, giving way toward the back to larger forms. This may be intended to quicken the rhythm of these repetitive forms. I suspect there was an element of learning as you go as the artwork was created. It could be that this was the earliest part of the sculpture made, and he refined his methods as the piece progressed. If so, this doesn't bother me, as I like to see a little experimentation reflected in the final work. I talked to him briefly about making this project, which sounded awkward and difficult. He would have to prop up the finished parts with one hand, while welding new glass rods on with the other. The end result is a theme and variation of similar shapes, some taller, some smaller. In addition the glass rods throw spidery patterns of shadows on the gallery floor. I imagine these patterns will change during daytime lighting.

Franklin's website shows work that reflects biology more than geology, showing another side to his artwork. Several works are eerie skeletal forms, also made of glass, but including neon lighting as well.

Eric Franklin runs the materials workshop here at PSU. He is the one who gave us the wood-shop tour.

Matt Hall

Duane Hanson’s “Dishwasher”

This is Duane Hanson’s “Dishwasher” from the Portland Art Museum. It is made of resin and fiberglass. Everything about the piece, the texture, scale, and color, makes this huddle mass sitting in the corner resemble a tired dishwasher resting his feet. The figure is strikingly realistic and the details are thoroughly thought out. The soles of his shoes have holes in them and the proportions and pose really resembles a human sitting there. The viewer is able to walk around and see the piece from all angles, even the top of the dishwasher’s head. His skin and even his hair is crafted so it seems like the tactile texture would feel like real hair and skin if the viewer were allowed to touch it. The dirty, tired dishwasher in contrast to the clean white walls of the museum really makes this piece stand out.

-Vivian Hsu

Live 3D

I attended an event for the Japanese-American community of Portland this weekend. There were lots of different things happening like musicians and a live and silent auction. One thing in particular, however, caught my attention and that was an artist creating his art live. Japanese artist Taka Sudo was up on a wooden dais painting among all of the noise and distraction. Sudo had three small canvases each about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide to create a triptych. Many people were watching him and mingling around him as he created, yet amongst all of that distraction he was somehow able to be both artist and art.

While he was painting, Sudo was creating art. Creating in front of an audience of hundreds people seemed to border on performance art. Perhaps it was an illusion because he was up on a dais , but it was the moments of pause, stillness, and intense focus of creation when he was not painting, those times when he was not performing that he became part of his artwork and the whole scene became the art. When he resumed painting the moment was gone.

"A Gift For A Princess"

The piece I chose is a painting on an vinyl bust. This is a piece made up of a found object and acrylic and enamel pain. The artist Solace, had many works in the small gallery. She has a very unique style. Most of the characters or subject matter have elements of beauty with Gothic/Anime type characters. this piece to me has a definite sense of color and mass. It is an unexpected creative explosion that drew my attention right away.
One of the things that I really like about this piece was the way it was exhibited. It was in the Fifty 24PDX Gallery, which is a small light filled room attached to a retail store that also has murals and more art on the walls in the store. It was a different type of gallery that was geared towards a different sort of audience, one that doesn't usually go to a gallery, but will probably, take a walk over to just see what's there. It makes art accessible to more people. A lot of the paintings in the store were also printed on t-shirts, so you could walk out of the gallery/store with some of the art.
I really liked this type of gallery, the art was edgy, hip, and it draws you in on the pretense of a retail store. There were a couple of these type of galleries in this area, and It really does bring the gallery experience to a whole different group of people.

Teresa Neal

First Thursday

So, unfortunately I was sick last Thursday so I couldn’t make it out to any open galleries for First Thursday. I did happen to take a trip out to the Portland Rose Gardens this weekend though. Although it was a pretty dreary day when I went and there wasn’t anything cool going on with the roses, I did happen to stumble upon this very interesting piece of art. I don’t know if it is a statue or a monument representing anything, but it is a nice sculpture to look at. The structure it self is very cubic and rectangular and is comprised of nothing more than life size metal tinker toys. It almost looks like some sort of unfinished house or hut, or even a building that lost its funding midway through its construction.

The sculpture has a very rustic look and feel to it and it fits in very well with the surrounding rose gardens as well as the grey sky. The structure utilizes lots of negative space and incorporates symmetry and balance. It is also an interactive piece of artwork with the walking bridge/paths that go right through it. It’s funny to me that only one of the pathways connects all the way through while the other just stops midway through the sculpture. I'm not sure of the purpose of this, but to me it does make this sculpture a little more playful and deceiving.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It Suits Pendleton Pretty Well....

I drove past this everyday and I still don't know if I like it or not. I did some Googling and found this to be a very mysterious 12 piece sculpture. It is called "Cattle Drive" by Michael Booth. I didn't get to jump out of the car and touch it to see what it was made out of, but my guess is that it is painted metal. It was pretty cool how textured everything was, I think it was overly textured so when you are driving you could see all the little details.

Final First Thursday:

Geraldine Ondrizek
"Sound of Cells Dividing" (2008-2009)
Hand Made Paper, Film
The work is a free standing screen (soft sculpture?), approx. 10' tall, assembled in a half circle shape. Impressively, the artist made all the paper by hand. As you approach the screen, a ringing is emitted from speakers, that are embedded in the layers of paper. On the other side of the screen, a projected video plays in a continuous 12 minute loop. The content of the video is excerpts from over 200 hours of recorded footage from a stereo-microscope, of human cells dividing. The really cool part is that the sound actually is the recorded sound of the cellular activity. The tape switches over after 6 minutes, from footage of healthy cells to cancer cells, and the audio recording switches as well. The nearly melodic ringing becomes an agitated clicking sound, abruptly altering the viewers impression of the footage.
I chose this piece because I thought the use of multimedia was orchestrated to an interesting allegorical effect. The double layer paper screen, with it's fleshy texture, gives the sense of a multi-layered cell wall. Within it lies all the workings of the cell itself. The screen isolates the viewer with the video and sound. Confronted with the footage, the effect is at once intimate, alien, and entirely sublime. The sublime quality is also reinforced by the massive scale of the work. The composition has a conceptual unity, that is derived from the use of a variety of materials. It integrates negative space into an interactive work that forces the viewer to explore it's dimensions.