New piece goes in near park, another is for da Vinci Days
By KYLE ODEGARD
Pete Beeman stood atop his pickup near Central Park, grunted and hefted an 80-pound piece of galvanized steel.
The Portland artist carefully placed it atop a gray-silver column, but then he noticed a slight problem. His shorts were caught between two of the metal segments.
"I've become one with the sculpture," the 40-year-old cried with a mixture of mock-horror and satiric artistic pride.
The sculpture shares his sense of whimsy.
The 14-foot-tall "Breathing Post," includes a crank that causes "wings" to rise and fall. It's meant to be played with.
On Tuesday, Beeman installed the structure in front of ArtCentric, 700 S.W. Madison Ave., to herald his exhibit, "Simple Machines." It will be on display inside the old church building starting Thursday, until Aug. 18. An artist's reception is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at ArtCentric.
When the exhibit leaves, so will "Breathing Post," said Hester Coucke, ArtCentric curator.
Another of Beeman's sculptures, "Dual Pendulum," will be installed next week for da Vinci Days, July 20-22. It will be on display near the entrance of the festival at the lower Oregon State University campus. That sculpture will be taken down immediately after the festival.
"Dual Pendulum" also is a kinetic sculpture; it includes a tripod holding a pendulum. Fifty steel rods are attached to the top of the pendulum. When it moves, the rods sway, bob and bounce.
"Every year, we try and highlight an artist," said Patrick Sloma, production assistant for da Vinci Days. "The idea that everything moves and flows goes with our kinetic sculpture race every year," he added.
"Dual Pendulum" is the prototype of "Pod," which sits across from Powell's Bookstore on Burnside Avenue in Portland.
"Breathing Post" is the prototype for a permanent piece at a new Trimet lightrail station in the Portland-area.
Coucke watched "Breathing Post" take shape on Tuesday, near other sculptures, such as a ballerina, a bronze squirrel on a park bench and the trench-coat clad raccoon and alligator of "Clever Disguise."
"I'm excited about it. I think it's just great. I like kinetic sculpture, and it's fun to look at," Coucke said.
It's more than just fun to look at, though.
Beeman said that the best compliment his work received this week was from kids, who played ecstatically with the sculptures.
Kyle Odegard covers the city of Corvallis and Benton County government. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 758-9523.