Sculpture Exhibition – Washington, D.C.

American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, D.C. to Present Contemporary Sculptures by Squire Broel Art installation offers visual counterpoint to frenetic, fragmented existence.

AU News_2019

WALLA WALLA,WA: A series of contemporary sculptures by Squire Broel will be installed for public viewing in the Sylvia Berlin Katzen Sculpture Garden at the American University Museum, Washington, D.C. from April 6th through August 11th, 2019.

A selection of Broel’s life-sized to monumentally-sized totemic bronze sculptures creates space for reflection and contemplation about what it means to be engaged as an individual within community and interact intentionally with the natural world. In his series of vertically oriented structures, Broel references tangible and intangible notions that resonate universally: botanical and architectural structures, environmental rhythms, physical and emotional solitude.

“The sculptures echo familiar forms found in nature, modernist design, primitive utilitarian objects and art historical traditions. The shapes appear straightforward, yet the surfaces are nuanced and the orientations are subtly articulated – much like each of our individual lives,” noted Squire Broel. Intentional abstraction creates a generous context for engaging with the sculptures. Allusions to historical references create a sense of timelessness and familiarity, yet the pieces exist outside the rapidly shifting visual language of stylized contemporary aesthetics.

This unique sculptural installation exposes viewers to aspects of the American rural West’s untamed spirit, vast rugged landscapes, and traditions of mysticism. “Having experienced the golden wheat fields off set against the Blue Mountains, I can better understand the great conservationist Justice William O. Douglas’ work to preserve the land and Squire Broel’s totems that rise from it,” Jack Rasmussen, Director and Curator American University Museum. Broel’s intentional decision to live and work in a small agrarian community in the Pacific Northwest provides viewers with a raw vision of inward examinations that relate more to the health of the psyche than to the pop-culture echo chamber. The work is a complex fusion of expressions: longing, melancholy, hope and contentment.

In 1999 a traveling exhibition, Outward Bound – American Art at the Brink of the Twenty-First Century, brought Broel’s two-dimensional work to Washington, D.C, where it was included alongside works by Roy Lichtenstein, Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Squeak Carnwath and Sam Gilliam. This is the first exhibition of Squire Broel’s three-dimensional work in the nation’s capital.

Article and additional photographs at Walla Walla Union Bulletin, February 7, 2019

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Thoughts about creativity

30000Feet_Jan_2016Creativity requires commitment. The continual renewing of perspectives and the ability to consider a multitude of possibilities are essential fundamentals for the individual who seeks to express a personal vision that strives to be enduring and vital. Creativity breaks the cycle of the mundane and sets the heart and mind free.

Some artists work in series with repetitive forms and ideas and yet continue to imbue their work with an originality and liveliness similar to the first unfettered pieces they created. Others certainly do not. What is the basis of the difference? How long can an idea can be teased out or replicated and still be considered creative? Can the thing that was once thought to exemplify creativity eventually cease to be creative over time? Does creativity have an expiration date?   Creativity is about the present–the now–rather than the past or future, yet it is constantly evolving.

Artists who are flexible and inquisitive in their thinking and processes will  make works of art that have an electric quality to them.  The work doesn’t necessarily need to be bold, loud or dramatic.  It simply needs to encourage the viewer to feel and think; it will quicken the pulse. Truly creative work is authentic.  Emotion and thought are generated in its presence.

It’s understood that cultivating the capacity to live with ambiguity and unpredictability helps to foster creativity, but the brain often defaults to recognized and comfortable patterns in a desire to maintain the status quo. “When we feel like we don’t have command of our own fate, our brains often invent patterns that offer a sense of self-control.”(1)

For both artists and non-artists alike it’s important to recognize the challenge that creativity poses to conventional thinking. How tolerant and flexible are you willing to be in order to ignite and flame your creativity?

  1. Hinterthuer, Adam. “Brain Seeks Patterns Where None Exist.” Scientific American, October 3, 2008. January 18, 2016.
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Eyes and Reflections

TWOZEROTWO_Nove_2015I recently opened an exhibition of new work at Studio TWOZEROTWO in downtown Walla Walla. It was a packed house at the opening reception – a testament to the vitality of the art community here in Walla Walla.

Over the past few years while I was working to complete and install large-scale commissioned sculptures, I made an intentional decision to hold off on publicly exhibiting my personal studio work. During that time however, I continued to explore the ideas and aesthetics that I’d been engaged with over the past two decades. As life is constantly changing, I recognized the necessity to embrace new realities that were now part of my life. I continued to question the validity of ideas that suggested a creative career had to have a linear and specific trajectory. I think we all realize that creativity–much like life–is chaotic, mysterious and often misunderstood. It is also spontaneous, exhilarating and ever-changing. That line of thinking has formed much of the motivation behind the curated selection of works that I decided to exhibit at this time.

Here’s a link to more information and images that relate to the exhibition.

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Eyes in The Wilderness

The photo above shows a resin prototype of a piece that is part of my new “Eyes of Nature” series. The discs mount to trees within the natural landscape and act as symbolic reminders of nature’s perception of humanity’s actions.

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