Sunday, February 06, 2011

Puzzle Tower I

Puzzle Tower I

Puzzle Tower I



Our occasional tour of Portland bus mall art leads us to Puzzle Tower I, at the corner of 5th Avenue & Salmon St. It's one of the new crop of public artworks that arrived along with the MAX Green Line. Overall those are quite an uneven bunch, but I do like this one. If you're following this occasional tour and you've looked at the photos in this post you probably just went "Duh", I mean, it's abstract and stainless steel, obviously I'm going to be favorably inclined toward it. Ok, so it's a bit small and skinny for a public art piece, but hey.

TriMet's Green Line Public Art Tour describes it thusly:


Puzzle Tower 1, 2007

ARTIST

Chris Gander

LOCATION

On 5th Avenue, between Salmon and Main streets

DESCRIPTION

Puzzle Tower, by Chris Gander, consists of five basic geometric forms designed as an exploration of symmetry and visual balance. These structural and architectural forms invite viewers to speculate and find meaningful personal references from something unknown or unfamiliar.



Puzzle Tower I

An article in Pacific Northwest College of Art's Untitled magazine mentions it briefly:

...contemporary artists like current faculty Chris Gander continue to deploy in increasingly formal and astute geometric forms. These works belly an approachable humor and resilience, as in his abiding stainless steel Puzzle Tower on Southwest Fifth Avenue, between Main and Salmon Streets.

(And yes, the original text uses "belly" instead of "belie". Sometimes spell check is the death of the English language. Other times it just makes it more surreal.)

Puzzle Tower I

Via PNCA's Flickr stream, here's a photo of the artist standing next to it at the official dedication, for scale. Also ran across an interesting article about a 2008 show at Linfield showcasing other works of his. And as the name suggests, this isn't the only Puzzle Tower out there; here are pics of Puzzle Towers II and III, via the Laura Russo Gallery.

Puzzle Tower I

So anyway, I usually don't burn any time speculating about what a given artwork is "supposed to be". I mean, that's kind of missing the point when you're talking about anything abstract. But this time we've apparently been invited to not just speculate but also develop "meaningful personal references". I'm going to leave the latter part alone for now, but speculation I can do.

Puzzle Tower I

When I was a kid, someone gave me a 3D wooden puzzle that had pieces that looked a lot like this. I took it apart and for the life of me I could never get it back together again. So that's what it reminds me of. And that was, in fact, a puzzle. And... well, that's all I've got, actually. A 3D wooden puzzle piece, but blown up by several orders of magnitude and made of stainless steel. Make of that what you will.

Puzzle Tower I

Puzzle Tower I

Puzzle Tower I