A closer look at some of the art of Gallery Without Walls
The excitement has been mounting for weeks as the Arts Council of Lake Oswego staff and volunteers carefully removed sculptures from the Gallery Without Walls and replaced them with new additions to the award-winning public art exhibit. The wait will be over Sunday, when Unveil Your Art! a celebration of the new sculptures begins at 11 a.m. in Millennium Plaza Park, 200 First St. in Lake Oswego.
Artist Hilary Pfeifer of Portland gave The Review and Tidings a sneak peak of her sculpture "Pouffe," which was installed on State Street Aug. 1. Carved of cedar, "Pouffe" is an allusion of a stack of Moroccan seating cushions. Each section has its own distinct carved texture and is stained to a unique natural color in a range of brown tones.
"The Pouffe forms will each be carved individually, but appear to be one unified piece when assembled on site," Pfeifer wrote in her proposal. "I will use a 75-year-old Atlas cedar, a wood known for its excellent carving ability and rugged longevity in outdoor settings. The patterns I will choose for each Pouffe will combine patterns found in nature with traditional Moroccan design, alluding to the symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural world."
The individual pouffes are joined by hidden mortise-and-tenon joinery to prevent them from spinning.
Pfeifer said she uses reclaimed, recycled and found wood for all her art projects, and the projects always include nature and humans, and how each tries to control the other. That inspiration goes back to her youth; her family spent a lot of time experiencing nature when she was growing up.
"At one point, we purchased a square mile about a mile from the Oregon coast," she wrote in her proposal. "Rather than clearing the land to build a house, our family of four cut a path through the salal and huckleberries to a clearing in the center and pushed in a flatbed trailer. Upon that we built a simple cabin framed with old telephone poles we salvaged from the beach and plywood walls. Several simple structures were also in that small clearing, providing us with the very basic places to sleep, cook and play. We reimagined the forested space as if it were a traditional house — a stump served as a chair, a log was split lengthwise and opened up to make a tabletop, and so on."
Pfeifer has created a number of public works of art; most recent installations include works for TriMet's Orange Line. "Allogamy," made of carved and stacked geometric red cedar forms, is reminiscent of native seeds, nuts and berries. It is installed at TriMet's Southeast Park Avenue Park and Ride. "Phylogeny," installed on the Trolley Trail, is a contemporary totem also made of red cedar. It honors the animals that inhabited the area before and after settlement.
"I had to use wood that was removed to make room for the light rail project," she said. "I use a lot of found wood, and recycled wood for my projects." She said both TriMet projects have been installed for more than two years now and show no signs of deterioration from the elements.
Pfeifer's studio will be open for viewing as part of Portland Open Studios on Oct. 7, 8, 14 and 15. To learn more about Pfeifer and her work seek her out at Unveil Your Art! and visit hilarypfeifer.com.