stranger reduction zone, alien plants, a moveable calendar and outsized pick-up sticks.
What do they have in common? They're now public art, and populate downtown sidewalks and spaces in the 15th annual "Art on the Streets," a juried sculpture exhibit that began in 1999.
Eleven works were selected for the 2013-2014 downtown sculpture garden. They come from artists across Colorado, New Mexico, California and Oregon. Two local artists' works were selected: "Sum" by Pard Morrison and "Tree" by Kim Polomka.
The sculptures will be up through May, and are available for purchase. The annual program relies on tax-deductible contributions from individuals and businesses. No city funds are used.
Blake Milteer, museum director at the Fine Arts Center, juried and curated the exhibit.
"Every piece is going to have something surprising and elegant and sometimes provoking," he says.
More than 130 entries were received, says Lara Garritano of Downtown Colorado Springs and Community Ventures.
"There are things to look for," Milteer says. "Knowing the site, which is downtown Colorado Springs, I wanted to look for sculpture that had an acknowledgement of the built surroundings, the architecture and the streets, as well as downtown activities - where are people walking, where are the sight lines?
"But here, too, you have to look at a nod to the natural landscape as well as our history. And I'm always looking for art in which the artist has a clear understanding of their materials, which is particularly important in outdoor sculpture."
Every artist who is accepted into the show receives a $750 stipend. First-, second- and third-place winners are determined by the juror. First place wins $15,000, second is $5,000 and third is $2,500. Winners were to be announced Friday morning.
Here Milteer explains what attracted him to the works that made it into the show.
“SUM” Pard Morrison,
Fired pigment on aluminum, 2011
502 S. Tejon St.
This sculpture is the sum of interrelated experiences with architecture and landscape. The forms emerge from the language of architecture while Morrison’s color palette reflects the Colorado landscape.
Kim Polomka, Colorado Springs
Steel and painted aluminum, 2013
Median on Pikes Peak
Avenue, between Tejon Street and Cascade Avenue
Polomka has captured the idea of a tree in this kinetic sculpture. It’s as if the tree were extracted from a surrealist painting and placed on the streets of downtown Colorado Springs.
“PLACE” Michael Brohman, Denver
El Paso County Courthouse, 270 S. Tejon St.
This is American classicism. Brohman places the American Western icons of cattle and a windmill atop columns, which are standards of Greco-Roman classicism. The tops of the capitols on these columns echo the flatness of the plains, while the space around them draws our attention to the expanse of the Western American landscape in which we live.
“CURRENT” Jennifer Cannon, San Jose, Calif.
Median at Cascade and Colorado avenues
In Cannon’s work, industrial material recalls natural flow and balance. “Current” appears as though it has emerged from the ground and arched into a passage — to where is up to us.
Jimmy Descant, Salida
Found objects/assemblage, 2009,
Median on Pikes Peak Avenue, between Tejon Street and
Descant’s sculpture is something from the past that launches us to the future. He asks us significant questions about progress and hubris, but has some fun on the way.
“IRON HORSE” Janene DiRico-Cable, Castle Rock
Cascade Avenue, just south of Platte Avenue
This is a tremendously elegant representation of a Western icon. The negative spaces within the horse’s body welcome views beyond, beautifully integrating the sculpture with the surrounding space.
“STRANGER REDUCTION ZONE” Timothy Flood, Denver
Plaza of the Rockies,
121 S. Tejon St.
With this interactive work, Flood wants us to stop and acknowledge each other, despite our drive to get from one place to another on the city streets. It’s about real contact.
Suzanne Kane, Las Cruces, N.M.
Steel and ceramic, 2012,
Utilities, 111 S. Cascade Ave.
Like many of the plants that are native to this region, “Xeriscape” looks like it could thrive on an alien world as well as it does here. This work could not be more relevant in our current summer of drought.
Melanie Piech, San Francisco
Steel and polyethylene, 2013,
225 N. Nevada Avenue
In “Play Date,” layers of meaning and experience are inseparable from the playfully engineered appearance of the sculpture. What feels like playground furniture is actually a calendar that viewers can manipulate, creating their own temporal records.
“CONSTELLATIONS III” Chris Rench, Hood River, Ore.
Median at Cascade Avenue and Kiowa Street
These figures are calligraphic in their elegance, as each figure is activated in space by the other two. Like separate stars shaping an identifiable figure across deep space, these individual figures perhaps suggest the unity of community experience when viewed together.
“RED SPRINGS GARDEN” Tim Upham, Fort Collins
Lodgepole pine trees, 2013
Median in front of City Hall, 107 N. Nevada St.
Complexity and beauty precede our recognition of this installation as Upham’s response to the bark beetles currently affecting Colorado’s mountain forests. In the pieces, there is renewal as blight is replaced by bright colors and tall pines become outsized pick-up sticks.
Jennifer Mulson can be reached at 636-0270.