“Perch,” by Mike Suri of Portland, has earned Best in Show among the “Big Art” sculptures on display in Hood River.
“Perch,” a six-foot-by-six-foot bouquet of white metal evoking sails in the wind, can be seen just west of the Event Site along the Shoreline Trail, and is in close proximity of several other Big Art works, including “Steel Head” by Ben Dye a familiar work in a new location — at Second Street and Riverside Drive at the north end of the Second Street overpass, adjacent to the waterfront public transit hub.
Lynn Orr, executive director of The History Museum of Hood River County, and Steve Grafe, curator of art at Maryhill Museum of Art, juried and named awards for the Big Art Exhibit 2017-2019.
Artists will receive $1,000, $750, and $350, respectively.
Of the three, only Perch remains on the Big Art tour, which has had new works added, others moved and several new locations added.
Following are the judges’ thoughts on each awarded piece, followed by some background information about the artists.
Best in Show — Perch by Mike Suri
“It is evocative of the wind that defines the Gorge. Although created with heavy, steel material, the artist’s design impressed us with feelings of movement that seemed so natural. It appears as an undulating wind-whipped form, like a plant perched on the rocks clinging to its place in the world.”
Second Place — The Paddler by Tom Herrera
“The simplicity of the form communicates a complex idea. The balance of positive and negative space appears to be a metaphor for paddling on the river. The craftsmanship is excellent. The artist went beyond simply assembling the steel pipes, embellishing the stock materials through sophisticated techniques such as artful burnishing.”
Third Place — Dual by Francisco Salgado
“Dual is a contemporary perspective on a classic form: The human body. The technique of using a great number of strips of steel to replicate the human anatomy is especially impressive. The approach creates a phenomenal sense of emergence as the surface and all artifice are jointly stripped away.”
Perch is sponsored by Jane Duncombe and Jay Sherrerd; it is six-by-four-by-seven-feet and priced at $28,000.
Suri was born and raised in the California Bay Area and began sculpting directly in metal and other materials at the age of 16. Since moving to Portland in the late 1990s, Suri has established a design and fabrication business focused on executing commissions and speculative works large and small, public and private. His works can be found throughout the region.
The Paddler is sponsored by Robert Henshaw DDS-Oregon Periodontics and Scott Edgar, DMD-Northern Oregon Endodontics. It is four feet, nine inches by four feet by three feet, and priced at $8,500. After building his creek-side studio in 1994, Herrera began designing and creating distinctive custom metal work for homes and gardens. His specialty is whimsical and often, functional, pieces utilizing various types of recycled metals whenever possible. A natural collaborator, Herrera partners with other artists to incorporate ceramic mosaics and fused glass into some of his pieces that can be found throughout the Gorge including at Maryhill Museum.
Dual was sponsored by Doppio Coffee and Henry & Nan Fischer. It is 10 feet tall and priced at $9,600.
Salgado, originally from Mexico City, graduated with an MFA in sculpture and a BFA in photography from the University of Oregon. He taught sculpture at Portland Community College at Rock Creek. He exhibits his steel, ceramic, stone and wood sculptures, as well as, fine art photography throughout the Northwest and Mexico.
In 1997, he created an international exhibition called the 11x11 Sculpture Show, which featured an exchange between Mexico and Oregon of sculptors and sculpture.