Monday, September 17, 2018

Basket of Air

So next up on the grand tour we're taking a peek at Basket of Air, the sculpture in the center of the Hoyt Arboretum's new bamboo garden. The RACC description explains:

Artist Ivan McLean spent a few of years in the southern Philippines as a member of the Peace Corp and used this experience to inform his sculpture, which sits in the middle of the Hoyt Arboretum’s Bamboo Forest. The sculpture’s posts mimic the basic segmented structure of bamboo while the central sphere, a form often explored by McLean, reflects the idea of bamboo baskets he encountered during his travels.

While in the Philippines, “I built a nipa roofed house with various types of bamboo used as structural members or woven into the wall panels. During my travels I also watched in awe as workers created scaffolding rising hundreds of feet around modern buildings in Hong Kong and then a short time later hiking for days through bamboo forests in Northern Thailand and staying with families in simple homes made from the ubiquitous plant… I was constantly impressed by how skilled people were in using bamboo to build a variety of objects, including baskets.”

We've seen a couple of other McLean sculptures here previously: work previously seen here: Flying Salmon in 2014, & Rational Exuberance back in 2012. (The latter one was relocated north of the Fremont Bridge a year or two after I posted about it). I snarked a little about the salmon one, it being something of an overused motif in Pacific Northwest art. I feel I may have been unfair; undoubtedly the customer (an upscale, super-Northwesty grocery store) insisted on salmon. Salmon have the unique ability to be both an eco-feel-good regional icon and a delicious meal at the same time. Maybe not exactly the same time, but you know what I mean.

In any case, since we're more or less on the topic of bamboo forests, here's a fight scene from House of Flying Daggers (2004):