day 318 – four Harry Bertoia obits

It’s hard, in merely a week, to say much about this man and his work I fell in love with.

He was born March 10, 1915, the same year as my mother.  He left, transitioned, November 6, 1978. 

I thought this appropriate to end the week.

What else do you want to know about him? 
What sculpture speaks to you?  

Keep posted for a book:  The Man Who Makes my Heart Sing _ A personal journey & discovery of Harry Bertoia

PS  A special thank you to Arden for making this possible.


day 316 – four Harry Bertoia fountain maquettes

I love these metal creations.  They were done by Bertoia as models for fountains he was commissioned to make.  The fine metal rods are welded together & shaped.  The full-size fountains range in size from 6′ high to 13 ‘ high x 14’ structures and made of different-sized hollow copper tubing bent & welded to match the lines of the maquette.  It was really fun seeing the Philadelphia Civic Center scupture move through the city streets on a rig going to another location. 

I visited the Marshall University Memorial Fountain in Huntington, WV. I will always remember walking on the sidewalk, seeing the fountain come into view.  It took my breath away, like seeing a long-lost-friend.  I spent several hours with it, photographing it from every angle and in different natural lighting settings, watching the light play on it as the sun disappeared beyond the horizon.  

And, the day I drove into foggy Buffalo, NY, into the M&T Bank Plaza, I was dazzled by the sculpture in the oval fountain.  The sculpture was one of 7 commissioned by  Minuro Yamasaki for buildings around the country. I was on my way home from a 6 week trip to Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Detroit where I’d been doing research and photographing pieces.  I had only a short time there so I took photos of the sculpture in the fog.  I was dubious about them turning out.  They are, in fact, some of my favorites.

I was rushing back to Philadelphia to see my son race in the Dad Vale Regatta on the Schuylkill River.  He rowed for Roman Catholic High School.  I arrived as he was crossing the finish line in first place,  just in time to photograph the awards ceremony. 

All good.

day 297 – four transition sites

The central image is one of my favourite images.  A bird had built a nest in an electrical box at the site of an abandoned bottling factory.  This factory comprised of a steel shed with a variety of tanks, equipment and conveyer belts scattered about the grounds, is now overtaken by vegetation and wildlife.  All the sites shown here illustrate spaces that are in transition; places once habited by man that are now being reclaimed by nature.  If these sites are no longer exclusively nature made or manmade then what are they?

The study of cybernetics can be used to achieve a deeper understanding of complex biological, social and ecological systems, and is used to help us understand the world around us.  It is also a term used in reference to artificial enhancement in many ways including biological and social structures.  As humanity expands, our social, political, architectural and transport networks spread across the globe and our influence over the planet increases.  We implant structures on top of and under the ground, into the oceans and into the space around us to enhance our capabilities.  Our influence can even be seen on a genetic level as we experiment with plant and animal life.  The impact of our chemical pollutants can be seen across the planet.  If we can refer to ourselves as cyborgs because of our technological implants, pace makers, artificial limbs, wheelchairs, or ipods then can we not go so far as to say that our planet too is a cybernetic organism?

day 292 – four items of litter

I found these items along a gravel roadside of interest.  On a smaller scale they illustrate the slow process of decomposition, paper will break down quite quickly, while the baler twine, the piece of plastic and the aluminum can will likely linger much longer.  Each will break down into smaller parts to become part of the soil composition.  This leads me to consider how much detritus could be combined with natural soil and still be viable for growing plants.

Alumninum can be recycled almost indefinitely, and paper is naturally biodegradable, while the baler twine is generally made from a polypropylene product designed to degrade.  Plastic such as the clear sheet particle can last for many years lingering as tiny tatters like the one on the top right.  The grasses wrapped around this piece of plastic are grasping it, nesting plastic fibres with its vigorous growth.  Plastic and plant are enmeshed in a process of harmonious growth and decay that is illustrative of the insidious nature of plastic as well as a testament to the resilience of nature itself.

day 192 – four photos found in an alley