Seeing Through the Space

Seeing Through the Space

By Matt Morgan

Rondo I by noted Bay Area sculptor Bruce Beasley encourages viewers to see the dynamism of all that is natural—and it's being welcomed as a permanent addition to the de Saisset.

Bay Area sculptor Bruce Beasley once told the San Francisco Chronicle he views the individual shapes in his sculptures the same way a composer sees chords in a song.

The composer, Beasley says, doesn’t invent the notes but, through repetition and arrangement, uses them to produce something more profound than noise. Conversely, in his sculptures, Beasley uses shapes, which by themselves carry no emotion, to form new relationships that speaks to the viewer in a meaningful way.

Beasley’s Rondo I, which comes permanently to the de Saisset Museum this fall, is a dynamic example of this thought. With its series of shining, nearly intertwined rings, the piece not only develops interactions within the sculpture but to the natural environment surrounding it.

“The nature and the natural elements of the environment have a lot to do with how (Beasley) defines his sculptural shapes,” said Rebecca Schapp, director of the de Saisset museum. “This piece is really open, is airy, is circular and is really inviting the environment around it to carry a more prominent position.”

Rondo I will join the museum’s quickly growing public sculpture program and is slated for a site adjacent to the museum’s front entrance. This addition is part of the University’s vision to develop a prominent and robust public art collection for the enjoyment of the campus and wider community.

“In its role as a cultural institution and resource for the community, the de Saisset aims to make connections between disciplines and across cultures and experiences,” Schapp said. “Bringing large scale sculptural works such as Beasley’s Rondo I to a museum for exhibition is a great opportunity alone, but to be able to accept these works into a permanent collection provides lasting impact on the campus and larger community.”

Beasley is one of the most eminent sculptors working in the Bay Area. His work is internationally known and featured in major museums collections including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and dozens of others.

Rondo I is one piece in a series of sculptures produced over 10 years. Beasley’s goal for these sculptures was to contrast their natural outdoor surroundings only slightly while enhancing it in the process. Every detail of the Rondo pieces keeps this goal in mind, from his use of polished stainless steel, which reflects the sun and moonlight, to his choice of curved lines, ensuring every angle of light will be equally reflective.

This fall, Beasley will also have an exhibition at the de Saisset Museum from Sept. 30-Dec. 4, featuring pieces realized by computer-aided designs and 3D printers, and fabricated from resin, bronze, and stainless steel. Bruce Beasley Recent Work: Coriolis and Torqueri is guest curated by Hilarie Faberman. This is the first exhibition of Beasley’s revolutionary new sculptures in an American museum. The exhibition includes a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay on the Coriolis and Torqueri series.

Beasley finds inspiration in what he calls “the building blocks of nature,” that is, the various forces that shape and sustain the universe. The word coriolis refers to the effects of the earth’s rotation on movement of air in the atmosphere and water in the oceans. Torqueri, from Latin, pertains to the actions of twisting, bending, and distorting.

There will be a public reception for the exhibition Sept. 29, 7-8:30 p.m. with a preview hour with the artist for de Saisset Museum members from 6-7 p.m.

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