John van Alstine
Van Alstine's Arch #5
sculpture includes the properties of tension, balance and gravity. His work resembles Minimalist sculpture at first glance with a unique urgency and tension. Van Alstine's work has a physical and emotional impact on its viewers. The elements' precise positioning is necessary as the slightest change in the structure could cause collapse. The result is a static energy event creating a sense of presence. This presence is not created by the aesthetically related forms, masses or volumes of traditional constructivist sculpture, but rather through the real tensions. The individual elements of the sculpture are not held together with welds, but rather rely on their own internal energies for their unity.
adds a whimsical and colorful vibrancy to the Arvada Center grounds. Burgess' work has been included in many invitational, group and solo shows throughout the United States. He has done both public and private commissions, including Legend, a 20-foot-tall stainless steel piece at 16th and Wazee in Lower Downtown Denver.
and Ramp Piece
As a rock climber, John Young's understanding and interests in unusual rock formations lends a significant contribution to his sculpture. He also applies engineering principles to the stone sculptures, which pushes the limits of the stone's strength and create daring cantilevered elements. Young believes stone contains millions of years of history,
and by cracking a boulder open, he is exposing the mystery and secrets of the ancient past. Gwen F. Chanzit describes Young's process and sculptures vividly in "Gravity, Tension and Space
" by saying, "Process is visually evident in Young's sculpture. Much of the impact of these works comes from the relationship between the elements: stone, pin and cable. Clearly the pin and cable are not mere decorative enrichment, but are a structural imperative. One feels the brute force with which they tame the stone. The painful, emotional aspect of the stitched works derives from the conflict of elements which have been moved around by force and now are subjected to a relentless bondage."
All of Young's work deals with gravity and space. According to Chanzit: “Jack's Piece
de-emphasizes the pains and appears more spiritually uplifting. The warm red tones of the Colorado flagstones against the great expanse of sky — combined with configuration of soaring stone traveling through space — give a certain weightlessness to the slabs, for an emotionally appealing effect.” Young donated two sculptures to the Arvada Center, Ramp Piece
shown on the cover. Jack's Piece
is on an extended loan from owner Paul Schnell.
Angelo di Benedetto
This red metal sculpture, Untitled
, is the work of New Jersey born painter, artist and sculptor Angelo di Benedetto. Digressing from American and social realism, di Benedetto experimented with abstract images and began using qualities of tranquility, light and space. The relationship between the circle and di Benedetto was transmitted through his work for more than 30 years. Di Benedetto said, “When you look at my circles, you may think they are without feeling. That's ridiculous. My mind has feeling.” Di Benedetto's devotion to art has brought outdoor sculptures to many cities throughout the world.
James Buchman first discovered granite in 1972 when he was living and working in Vermont, where it is plentiful. The power of his "homemade" sculpture is evident in two of his sculptures Sarkarah
. Buchman has been consistently noted by respected critics across the country, such as Robert Hughes of Time
Magazine and Hilton Kramer of the New York Times
. A Tennessee native educated at Dartmouth College, Buchman now maintains his studio in the small town of Cottekill, New York. Among his commissions is a 1979 piece for the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid.
The outdoor amphitheater is enhanced by Bozeman, Montana, artist Clarice Dreyer's treatment of the 40 foot by 120 foot stage house wall. Clarice Dreyer was born in Missoula, Montana. She studied at Montana State University (B.F.A., 1979) and the University of California, Berkeley (M.F.A., 1981). Among numerous awards and commissions, she has received three fellowships from the NEA. In 1994, she was a resident artist at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center's Arts/Industry program in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. She has had individual exhibitions at noteworthy galleries such as Eaton/Shoen Gallery, San Francisco and Marilyn Butler Gallery, Santa Monica. Her work is housed in private and public collections such as the late Ed Kienholz and Nancy Redin-Kienholz, The Spokane Library, Washington and the Montana Justice Building, Helena, Montana.
The wall painted and textured in three shades of blue which Clarice matched to various shades of sky, is the background for an application of aspen branches, cast in alloy of aluminum, copper and silica. Surrounding the stage house is a path lined with bird baths (also created by Dryer) and bird feeders. Recycled engine pistons were used to cast pieces in either a traditional lost wax process or sand cast. All castings were done from the actual natural elements. The bird baths are part of a xeriscaped garden forming the bird sanctuary. Conceptually, this work represents humanity's place in the universe- our connection to the sky (heavens) and the earth. The work at its fullest allows visitors to contemplate the relationship of sky, earth and human-made objects on the stage of earth. This work is enjoyed from afar and close-up. It also changes dramatically at night and with the seasons.
Internationally renowned artist Vito Acconci of Brooklyn, New York, was selected to develop a public art work on the wall designed in the shape of a treble clef by architect Ken Berendt of Barker, Rinker, Seacat and Partners for the reconstruction of the new Arvada Center in 1992. The wall begins outside of the Center and continues inside, rising from ground level in the courtyard to a height of 24 feet in the interior. I terrupted several times by architectual features and seating nooks, it extends over 300 feet. Acconci's wall is made of layers or red volcanic rock, Cherry Creek sand, concrete sand, dry sand, red dolomite and top soil applied to 304 panels of varying shapes and sizes. The panels inside the building are masonite; exterior panels are exterior grade plywood. Over 50 gallons of interior and exterior wood glue were used to apply the soils. The panels are covered with 1/4" tempered glass and accented by acid-washed, galvanized steel. The steel was custom bent into its distinctive shapes according to the design worked out by the artist and installers. Acconci's wall is an attempt to tap the roots of the West in an artistic way to literally bring the outside in, dirt and all.
(with Mike Lee), Metal Sculptures
and Concrete Animal Heads
The Arvada Center Playground is the home of Squiggles, a 343-foot-long "sea-saurus", with plenty of bends, folds and curves where kids can climb and explore for hours. Squiggles curls around, under and around the ground of the play area, looking as if he's calmly gliding through the park. His concrete body, sculpted by Colorado Hardscapes, was smoothed and crafted to look like scales. The area around Squiggles is covered with thick rubber padding. Concrete "rocks" cheerfully stained in earth-tone colors and covered with handprints and "hieroglyphs" surround the area. Gian also contributed four of his brightly colored metal sculptures and three concrete animal heads that rest on the ground and make great climbing practice for toddlers.
Talking Trash Cans
The trash cans in the playground are no ordinary trash cans. They talk back to you. This creation of Jim Green suprises people when "voices" come from the can when trash is placed in them.
Lynne Hull's habitat sculptures, such as Duck Island
, work at several levels, acting as eco-atonements to restore habitat damaged by human impact while encouraging humans to understand wildlife needs and shift attitudes toward a relationship with other species.
Carl Reed's Untitled
seems at first a remnant from some long forgotten piece of farm equipment. Indeed much of the piece's appeal is its evocation of attrition and bygone times. Reed typically works with aged or worn, “found” materials that he artfully transforms into abstract designs — designs that in turn convey a sense of antiqueness and once-practical utility. Many Reed sculptures deliberately contrast and counterbalance sweeping rounded or coiled lines against blocky angular shapes.