One of my best beloved and weekly traversed landscapes--a field of green grass in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area that covers about twenty-six and a half acres along the San Francisco Bay towards Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge, has some very interesting visitors these days.
Recently populated with what looks to be a tribe of enormous, gracefully balanced and gestural aliens from another world, Mark Di Suvero’s installation of evocative steel beam sculptures reimagine and alter the landscape in a way that has made me stretch and take notice, look differently, think about how space is divided and allocated.
Di Suvero, who grew up in San Francisco's Sunset district two doors down from another famous sculptor, Richard Serra, drew lifelong inspiration from his native Golden Gate Bridge. Now appropriately set against a background of the bridge, his installation is a collaboration between the currently closed-for-remodeling SFMOMA, the National Park Service, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and brings together eight pieces spanning five decades from across the country, including one, Mother Peace, returning to the Bay Area (where it was created) for the first time since 1974.
Each piece suggests a juxtaposition of tension and balance, in fact, part of the tension is created by the fact that balance has been achieved using incredibly heavy, (up to 20 tons each!) bulky I-beams of industrial steel arranged in a such way as to possess an unlikely lithe grace.
What is especially fascinating to me is to consider how these huge pieces make use of negative space. Air. Really, what they do is sculpt the air. Without the negative space, all there would be is a heavy clump of welded beams.
I suspect this has something in common with what Tam has been talking about recently in terms of writing--that leaving space concept. I wonder if we can think of our words as sculpting air? Not in a visual sense, but in the sense that we create stories out of the air, using words to evoke the imagination, and connecting dots to form a story "shape" that is hopefully, ultimately pleasing and satisfying.
And of course, there is always this question of balance in whatever we are attempting to do with any degree of grace. I think we must constantly search for that sweet spot where the unwieldy, heavy elements in our lives, in our work, in our art, balance and sculpt the air into something beautiful.
Take Good Care,