Three sculptures from renowned Mexican sculptor grace Barkley Village

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 13, 2013 

BELLINGHAM - Three enameled steel sculptures from Mexican sculptor Sebastián have been installed in a plaza outside The Woods Coffee at Barkley Village, near the new movie theater.

The geometric pieces went in last week, thanks to the effort of the nonprofit group Sculpture Northwest and the approval of The Barkley Co.

"We're always looking for new ideas to make the area unique," said Stowe Talbot, owner of Barkley Co. "They're quite dramatic, and fit in nicely."

George Drake, of Bellingham-based Sculpture Northwest, hopes people appreciate the pieces as an important part of the landscape.

"Sculpture should be, could be, an essential part of urban atmosphere, urban ambiance," he said. "We should have art in public places."

All three pieces are being displayed as part of a Big Rock Garden Park tribute to David Marshall. The late sculptor from Vancouver, B.C., was a friend of Sebastián and was one of the founders of the sculpture exhibits at Big Rock in Bellingham.

The tribute at Big Rock runs through the end of September.

The three sculptures - one orange-red, one white and one blue - at Barkley Village will stay there for three to six months. Sebastián donated all three.

Sebastián is best known for creating large sculptures of steel and/or concrete in Mexico and abroad, including the 197-foot monument near the Rio Grande titled "The X," or "La Equis."

At 10 feet in diameter, "Variations on a Sphere" is the largest of the three pieces. It was fabricated in Sebastián's studio from a wax model of a sculpture created by Marshall, who, a few months before his death in 2006, expressed a desire to have the piece made in large scale.

Marshall had expressed his wish to Drake, who owned the first small solid bronze cast of "Variations on a Sphere." The city of Bellingham owned the first bronze cast of the larger copy that was about 22 inches in diameter.

Drake shared Marshall's wish with Sebastián.

"Sebastián is now achieving David's dream of having a work over six feet tall," Drake said, adding that it's rare for an artist of Sebastián's stature to copy another artist.

But it was done to posthumously honor Marshall.

"I'm so damn proud to be part of it," Drake said.

Drake, who knows both sculptors, said they shared a love of geometry, mathematical relationships in form, and the expression of that in art.

After its stay in Bellingham, the large, 21/2-ton "Variations on a Sphere" - which was painted opal white to reflect shadows during the day as the sun moved - will be sent to its permanent home at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, B.C. The VanDusen garden paid to have the piece transported and painted.

The other two sculptures were gifted to Sculpture Northwest. "Reclining Figure" is blue, while "Tribute to David Marshall" is orange-red.

Reach KIE RELYEA at kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2234.

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