Work of West Linn sculptor tells Pacific Northwest history
In today's fast-paced world where everyone is moving from one place to the next, one activity to the next, West Linn sculptor Dave Haslett said he wants his work to make people stop and think.
A dozen of Haslett's sculptures, all from his "Vertebrae" and "Equatorial Equinox" series, are now on display at the Waterstone Gallery in downtown Portland.
Waterstone, a co-op gallery owned by 13 local artists, is now open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday and by appointment on Thursdays.
Haslett's exhibit, called "Ancient Earth New Dreams," runs through August.
With a few exotic exceptions, the stones Haslett uses are all found in the Pacific Northwest. Primarily, he works with basalt from central Washington, granite from the Cascade range and Olivine from northern Washington.
Haslett explained that, in geological time, the northwest is relatively new. Soo though the stones he uses are 12-14 million years old, they are on the younger side geologically.He said he likes working with stones because each one is unique.
"The stone has something to say," he said. "It's not just me inflicting my will. It pushes back."
Haslett said he is also fascinated by the way stone tells human history.
"The fact that we have history available to us is based on stone structure and stone architecture — the pyramids, the stones down in Peru," he said. "All over the earth, our history is based on these stone constructions that are immaculate and we don't even know how they cut, moved and turned (them).
"I consider myself a link in a long chain of stoneworkers," he added.
Haslett's "Vertebrae" pieces on display were inspired by his fascination with bones, specifically the integral strength of dinosaur and whale bones.
The other pieces, from the "Equatorial Equinox" series, are about cycles of life.
"The circle is all around us. You'll see it in raindrops on a pond, in halos on the sun. We're in cycles continually," he said. "The circle is a very strong shape in nature. So I'm just elaborating on that form."
Haslett said that most of his pedestal-size sculptures take about a month for him to complete, whereas his largest (he has one on display that is nine feet) take three or four months.
After closing for several months at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Waterstone Gallery recently reopened with limited hours and social distancing and mask requirements. Haslett said only four people will be allowed in the gallery at a time.
A 10-minute virtual walkthrough video of Haslett's exhibit has been posted on his website.
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