Parterre, 2012
Temporary International Installation Public Art Project 
15' W x 15' L x 20" H

In the Great Hall of the Jeppsen Terminal, a space of transition for those arriving in Denver and those awaiting them, I found an ideal opportunity to provide an audience with a theatrical view. By creating an aerial view of an enormous formal landscape that subtly incorporates the language of the airport and airfields, I wanted this installation to serve figuratively and literally as a meeting place and a rich visual landscape to lose oneself in. The centrality of this site, the perspective one can have on it from the bridges above, and the pattern of the floor which references the four rivers of Colorado (a paradise idea) all contributed to my sense that sculpture could play an important role here.

With all this in mind, I designed a sculpture that references a formal garden. The sculpture, titled Parterre- which is French for “above the ground”, is comprised of nine connected components made out of sheet aluminum, drilled, and clad with more than 12,000 ceramic leaves. The structure is minimal in its overall form appearing as a floating slab of a green hedge-like material, but has a rich palette of color and texture on its face, providing a tactile and lush painted surface to contemplate. The square form is 15’ x 15’ sitting only 20” high off the ground and visually lifted 5” from the floor by a recessed foot. The image on the face of this slab is of a circular (compass-like) formal garden maze with hidden images of airfield iconography (runways, signage, and airplanes) that aims to re-envision the airfield as ‘field’ or formal garden.

With all my work I explore ideas about elsewhere suggested by forms reminiscent of gardens and art historical sculpture while creating spaces one can physically enter and explore. Examining the boundaries between nature and culture, interior and exterior landscapes, and travel to places that exist in ones’ imagination are recurrent themes in my work that would hopefully resonate within the site of the airport.

 

Dovecote (Birdhouse Blobism), 2004 
The Lab Project at Belmar - Denver, CO
Terracotta and white slip, 40" H

Adam Lerner, former director of the Lab at Belmar, invited me among four international artists, to make a permanent public commission for the new town of Belmar. As a town center designed to be green and mixed with both residential and business dwellings, it was part of the New Urbanism movement alive in Denver and spearheaded by Mark Falcone.

I was asked to present a "postage stamp" piece that could be permanently installed anywhere in the town (of my choosing) that someone would come upon and reflect on the life of this new city. Having lived most of my life in New York City, I kept thinking of the inevitable inhabitants of this now pristine urban landscape that we try to discourage from settling. The pigeon came to mind. The more I looked into this bird and its habits, the more respect I felt. Not only does the pigeon mate for life and have extraordinary homing instincts, but they belong to the same species as the dove, only we exhibit a kind of species racism against them. Additionally, Colorado was the home to one of the last passenger pigeons which were made extinct in remarkably few years by the early settlers.

I designed a Dovecote for eight pigeons to be installed on the fifth, and top, level of one of the monolithic parking structures that existed there. Not only would pigeons find themselves nesting there in no time, but parking structures are based on barn design – parking spaces are after horse stalls.

The design of the Dovecote was an idealized pagoda – a dream of an elsewhere – with a Blobist façade – suggesting its future surface and the much-valued guano of the pigeon by many cultures. The material of the piece is terracotta and white slip and it is 40" tall.

 

Words are Leaves, Deeds are Fruit, 2011
Glazed Terracotta
Public Art Project for Danish Ministry of Culture
Sponsored Residency at GULDAGERGAARD International Residency in Skaelskor, DK

In making this work for Slagelse City Hall, I hoped to create something that wove together the threads of its agricultural past with its Viking settlement history. I collected and made plaster molds of six deciduous trees that are vernacular to the region. These six ancient trees with their own rich narrative histories– the ash, alder, oak, hornbeam, silver birch and lime - were used for the wood of Viking ships and instrumental in making Denmark the cultural capital it has long been. I studied Viking motifs from jewelry and belts and incorporated these into the vessel that holds an idealized shrub that is a tall form with twelve lines of leaves entwined into a unified matrix. Nature and culture are woven together, married, and each is dependant on the other's ability to nurture and support them. 

 

Oyster Bar, 1995
Handmade Porcelain Tile Installation 
30" H x 150" L 
Commissioned by Daniel Sachs and Fernando San Angelo for Blue Water Grill 
Union Square, New York, NY

 © 2019 Kim Dickey Studio

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