Each year Bainbridge Islands’ Public Art Committee installs an inspiring new group of outdoor sculptures in downtown Winslow on permanent pedestals. The annually rotating sculpture exhibit is part of the committee’s “Something New” program, and this year it is growing from three sites to five!
The outdoor sculptures herald to the resident community and visitors that islanders are an active, creative, and collaborative lot who celebrate, promote, and support the arts. I daresay this year is one of the most dynamic and diverse groups of sculpture so far as well as the largest.
Now in its fourth year, Something New now has something more! The program has grown to include two additional pedestals in Waterfront Park for a total of five sculptures to be installed this fall. The three existing locations are in front of Town & Country, at City Hall and the South Madison Overlook next to Doc’s at the marina. Without further ado, let’s get to know our fantastic five of 2021.
Truth by MacRae Wylde
Recently elusive, contorted, questioned and controversial, we scramble to tease truth from what we hear in the news, on the streets and around the kitchen table. In times where truth is seemingly up for grabs, artist MacRae Wylde created three sculptural monuments to Truth installed around the United States (including Bainbridge Island). In Wylde’s words, “Truth is the cornerstone all society stands upon. Truth is not always good news, and Truth is not always convenient. Truth allows us to function as a society. The sculpture is supposed to be a gentle reminder that truth is something we should strive to promote.” Sounds good to me!
Wylde was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Hood River, Oregon. He asserts, “building sculpture is a form of paying attention.” This is what led Wylde to build the series of sculptures depicting the word Truth. When Wylde recalls Superman’s catchphrase, “Truth, justice and the American way,” you reflexively stand straighter, yet blanch at the ways in which we have come so far only to fall so short.
Truth will be on display at the South Madison Marina Overlook location.
Fertility by Jennifer Kuhns
“The process of assembling cut and broken pieces into something whole and beautiful is very symbolic and can be cathartic both for artist and viewer” – Jennifer Kuhns
Incorporating numerous symbols for abundance and fruitfulness, Kuhns delivers a terracotta egg covered in a mosaic of carefully hand-cut stained glass and beads placed within a composition forming two fantastical birds on one side, a Tree of Life on the other, and dotted with bright flowers, bees, ladybugs, and butterflies. Kuhns states, “My work reflects an interest in culture and mythology and a love of color and contrast.”
A large part of Kuhns work is commissioned mosaics for homes, businesses, and public places. “My work combines the roles of fine artist, craftsperson and tradesman, and I find great pleasure in adding unique, creative elements to utilitarian spaces, especially large-scale murals.” Kuhn’s home and studio are nestled in the Capital Forest between the Puget Sound and Pacific Ocean (where she also keeps a menagerie of farm animals), and her mosaics can be found throughout the Pacific NW and the U.S in shopping centers, airports, and urban environments.
Fertility will be on display in front of Town & Country on Winslow Way.
Wandering Trees by Shawn Marie Johnson
Johnson cites hiking our beautiful northwestern mountain ranges as a key influence in her work. “My narrative is an allegory of nature with recognizable shapes that are composed within an abstract content.” She is also fully devoted to historical European art and is strongly influenced by Surrealist painters and denotes the technique of heavy outlines employed by Beckman, Matisse and Lautrec.
This stacked-base totem sculpture employs modernist art language, placing recognizable imagery among a grouping of abstract shapes reflecting a genre of expressionist landscape painting reinforcing themes of nature, movement, and energy – trees, wind, water.
Shawn Marie Johnson lives in Seattle where she is an Art Wizard Drawing Instructor within the Seattle Public School Enrichment Program. Johnson works at creating custom ironwork, sculptural welding, and design.
Wandering Trees will be on display at the Bainbridge Island City Hall
Cardinal Connection by Jan Hoy
Cardinal Connection is fabricated from bronze sheet metal and finished with a warm-watery patina; at the center is a connecting ridge.
“All my sculptures are abstract. This gives me freedom from reference or association, letting me explore form uninhibited by traditional shapes, ideas, and expectations. Curiosity drives my work. Each piece becomes a three-dimensional answer to a question. The question can be simple, but the answer can be anything but simple both in mental concept and in construction. Several of my forms have taken 2-3 years of mulling, envisioning, and sketching to find the answer. All my original work is done in water-based clay. Using this material gives me the latitude to add and subtract until the form is as perfect as possible.”
Jan Hoy lives and works in Coupeville on Whidbey Island, Washington. She was raised in the Puget Sound area and has spent her entire life here. Having received her degree in Fine Arts from the University of Washington, Jan initially pursued a career in textile design and pastel painting before settling on sculpture. Today, her work sells nationally and has been shown through prominent galleries and museums in the northwest, New York, New Mexico, Colorado, and California. Jan has sculptures in the permanent collections of the Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, and the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.
Cardinal Connection will be on display at Waterfront Park
Steel Sketch by Ed McCarthy
Steel Sketch represents a line drawing of geometric shapes colliding in air as it would appear if constructed in space. McCarthy reflects that artist Paul Klee once said that a drawing is simply a line going for a walk and that Steel Sketch is a line going for a walk – off leash.
McCarthy is a sculptor who works and lives in Issaquah near the foothills of Cougar Mountain. His training and work experience has been in engineering and architecture which has influenced his artwork. His sculptures balance mathematical proportions and combine geometric forms to create objects that flux between being architectural and sculptural.
His education includes having studied Welding and Metal Fabrication at Renton Technical College, Blacksmithing at Pratt Fine Arts Center as well as having earned a Ph.D in Water Resource engineering at North Carolina State University and a B.S in forest Engineering at the University of Maine.
Steel Sketch will be on display in Waterfront Park.
This collection of public art sculptures was selected by a jury of Public Art Committee (PAC) members Grace Harris and Shawn Parks, Mary Terry (business owner), Amy Sawyer (BIMA). If you’re interested in becoming a member of PAC email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OTHER ARTICLES BY DENISE:
Air Time: Talking Tillandsia with Sam Rader of Valley Nursery
Suggested Reading List for April Poetry Month
Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Gloom of Night (…but mostly snow)
History, Community and Art Converge at Pleasant Beach Village
New Sculptures in Familiar Places: Public Art Installations on Bainbridge Island
Green Light Garage: The Motherboard
Denise’s Favorite Virtual Gallery Tour: The National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum
ABOUT DENISE STOUGHTON INSPIRED by globe-trotting, day tripping, found objects and high fashion, Denise has been designing home decor for two decades. Originally from the island of Manhattan, she traded concrete and glass skyscrapers for skyscrapers of the deciduous and coniferous variety and now lives happily on Bainbridge Island with her Chihuahua, Tula. Interior Design has and always will be her first love. She studied (and later, taught) at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Denise writes a blog for Mercury Michael and is also a member of AHB’s Public Art Committee – placing public art in public spaces.