Warm morning light reflected off various surfaces of Bruce West’s newest stainless steel sculpture during the installation outside the newly constructed Jungers Culinary Center on August 31. The Cutting Board represents the latest efforts of Bend’s Art in Public Places campaign, Be Part of Art.
West learned about the call to art for the COCC building over two years ago when the school decided they wanted public art for the Jungers Center. With two sculptures already installed through the Art in Public Places program, he was eager to work towards a third.
The idea for the sculpture came about after brainstorming on the idea of a culinary school. “I thought cooking school, and having gone through a number of directions, settled on a cutting board as every good meal starts at the cutting board. I made my model with a lemon and a knife…and began to think in shapes. The cheese is an interesting shape: round and geometric and I imagined that people might sit on this piece, it would be a gathering place where people could share a cup of coffee while catching the late afternoon sun,” said West.
Light and reflection play a large roll in West’s art. He explains the perfect time to view his Earth Song sculpture at the NW Crossing & Shevlin Park Road roundabout is mid-afternoon as you head towards town; the sculpture in Drake Park, Cascade Landscape, catches light throughout the day on it’s various surface of stainless steel. “I seem to have a bad addiction to stainless steel,” he said, “It’s good because it gives you a variety of finishes and it is very durable.”
West and the lead architect Mark Stoller of Yost Grube Hall Architecture both of Portland, met over the past few years to discuss the design of the culinary center. Working with Stoller, West was able to get a good handle on the space and surroundings as both the sculpture and building were not completed until recently.
West worked with his assistant, Todd McMurray, for about six months on the sculpture. West commented, “He was a tremendous helper, technically very astute and being a whole lot younger, moves fast and efficiently, we complemented each other. He was a real partner in this process. He is an artist and craftsmen in his own right, it was an interesting coincidence that he went back to running his own full time shop after working with me.”
McMurray and West traveled to Bend for the installation of The Cutting Board along side a large hired truck with the pieces of the sculpture attached. The installation went well including the on-site welding and adjustments.
West said, “Bend is a unique town for the Art in Public Places program. It’s hard to drive a block or two without finding another piece of public art and it’s a broad range of subject matter. It’s a committee that has been very careful and thoughtful in its selection. I am very happy to work with them.”
Art in Public Places has served Bend’s public art fix since 1967 when the organization was founded as Art Now. Supported by the Brooks Resources Corporation and the Bend Foundation, the Be Part of Art campaign has a goal to raise donations for the purchase and installation of public art in the Bend city limits by the end of 2012. Brooks Resources and the Bend Foundation will offer a matching gift of up to $500,000 towards the raised moneys to purchase artworks like The Cutting Board. To date, Art in Public Places has placed more than $1.5 million worth of art around Bend.