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Leonardo, Vol. 13, pp. 315-316. Pergamon Press, 1980. Printed in Great Britain. MY SCULPTURE, IGALAXY' JanZach* Sculpture for me is an art of patience. My imagination plays with ideas drawn from dreams, visual experiences and cultural environments, and some of my pieces were executed only after 30 years of reflection [1]. Naum Gabo, in a letter to Herbert Read, said, 'sometimes a falling star, cleaving the dark, traces the breath of night on my window glass, and in that instantaneous flash I might see the very line for which I searched in vain for months and months. These are the wells from which I draw the crude content of my forms. Of course, I don't take them as they come; the image of my perception needs an order and this order is my construction. I claim the right to do so because this is what we all do in our mental world, this is what science does, what philosophy does, what life does' [2]. In 1947, in Rio de Janeiro, at the exhibition of the widely known Brasilian painter Candido Portinari, I met a charming woman from Victoria, B.C., Canada, who later became my wife. She was deeply interested in the art of the Northwest Indian tribes of Kwakiuti, Haida and Tlingit. I also became fascinated by their totemic sculptures and retain in my mind emotional impressions of their monumentality and the 'syncopic' rhythms (my term for arbitrary distributions of colors in a pattern) of their carved surfaces. Since then I have sought an opportunity to make, in contemporary terms, a large sculpture that would allow me to implement those impressions in an appropriate outdoor setting. On 17 October 1976, I received a letter from the Committee for the Selection of Art Works for the library building under construction for Lower Columbia College at Longview, Washington, U.S.A., inviting me to submit a proposal for a sculpture to be placed on the terrace of the library. Before accepting the invitation, I took a bus to Longview to inspect the site, and, on the way there, I saw stacked in lumber yards long poles of Douglas fir trees, the longest I had ever seen! The port of Longview, on the Cowlitz river, is one of the first planned cities in the northwestern part of the U.S.A. As it is located below sea level, a series of dykes and canals was first constructed under the direction of W. Vandercook in 1922-23 [3]. The objective was to build a port for shipping lumber. Its City Park, residential area and College campus I found skillfully laid out. The design of its recently built City Hall, which to me seems one of the most attractive of those I have seen in the U.S.A., was the work of the architect John Crook, who also designed the present library building for the College. The Chairman of the Selection Committee, Martha Boentgen, met me at the bus station and drove me to the College. The Campus consisted of a very large 'Sculptor and teacher, 25113 Lamb Road, Elmira, OR 97437, U.S.A. (Received 20 March 1979) 315 circular green lawn around which were situated long, one-storey buildings, their low roof lines accentuated by the two-story library and administration buildings. She pointed out to me the terrace at the entrance of the library (now called the Learning Resources Center). It struck me that strong, very tall forms would be appropriate in the setting. During my return trip to my studio, I sketched on a pad on my lap the sculpture that I proposed. On 12 November I presented to the President of the College, David Story, the architect and the Chairman of the Selection Committee a five-foot model of the proposed sculpture. I was delighted when they agreed that they liked it and would take steps to have it accepted by the Board of Trustees of the College and bythe Director of the State of Washington Art Commission , James Hazeltine. The latter was responsible for the final decision on the use of 1Vz% set aside by the State for artworks from the matching funds provided for...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 315-316
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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