Sunday, March 20, 2011



It's time for another episode in our occasional tour of Transit Mall art. Today we're on SW 5th Avenue near the corner of Stark St., home to one of the smaller works in TriMet's collection. This is Floribunda, which TriMet's Green Line public art guide describes thusly:

Floribunda, 1998


Mark Calderon


On 5th Avenue, between Stark and Washington streets


Floribunda, one of a series of works Mark Calderon made in the late nineties, was inspired by the hairstyles found in Japanese Buddhist sculpture of the 12th and 13th centuries. Floribunda is the only free-standing work from this series, and the design and pattern of the hairstyle envelops the entire form, creating a finished work that is quite abstract.

I like to think I'm a reasonably imaginative person, but without reading this I never would have suspected this was based on a hairstyle. And obscure cooking implement, perhaps, or maybe a teapot, or possibly a curling rock.


Well before TriMet purchased it, Floribunda featured in a 1999 gallery show in Seattle. The gallery page mentions an edition of 3, so the one pictured there may not be the same one that graces our city streets. You'll note that it's shown sitting right on the floor, so the pedestal here is a TriMet addition. I suppose it would have been a tripping hazard otherwise.

A Seattle Times article about the show admired it:
Though many of the pieces in this show are meant to be mounted on walls, one of the best works is "Floribunda," a rotund, cast bronze piece that sits on the floor like a huge pumpkin. Its surface is covered with perfectly symmetrical grooves like the shells of certain ocean crustaceans or some gourds. But, like a number of other pieces in this show, "Floribunda" has a neat "topknot" that seems to refer to a head.


In 2009 the same gallery hosted another show of more recent works by Mr. Calderon. Photos & info about which can be found here and here.



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