Mediums: Bronze, Glass, Interactive, Sculpture, Steel
We are the artist husband-wife team of Ulrich Pakker and Pamela Pakker-Kozicki aka R P Art. For us, public art adds to the shared set of experiences that creates a sense of place.
Beginning with the installation of our first public art work ten years ago, our goal has been to expand the aesthetic experience of a place past the edges of the site; to integrate our understanding of the area with that of the community; to initiate an examination, different interpretations, reflections and layers of meaning around how the community sees itself. We accomplish this dialogue through the intentional use of universal shapes created from metals with bold outlines that communicate directly with the mind’s eye. Not much subtlety or ambiguity in the edges of the work. Just clear honest shapes that ring strong. The forms employed rise out of the earth and head for the sky, often circling back in on themselves, self-reflecting, site-reflecting, light-reflecting. Water and its cousin, glass, contribute an elastic, transparent, glowing component that lightens up the work and provides a counterbalance to the weightiness of the metal forms. The art’s collective shapes are the end result of a series of steps begun as discussion.
Pamela creates a matrix, a paper soup of idea-flows made up of research, personal observations, reams of Ulrich’s sketches, and material decisions. Perspectives, different from our own, enter into the process through phone conferences, site visits and interviews. This soup, internal, conceptual and unseen, migrates to the studio where the external fabrication process births shapes, spatial and concrete.
The studio process produces both a physical and mental sculptural flow. Ulrich plans each move, cut, spark, clang and pounding to interpret the project matrix. His primary concern is physical: to allow the clean beauty of the sculptural forms to shine through. As sketches become physical, we exchange ideas about the site’s living, abstract and concrete surroundings as well as how the community has changed and will change over time. Connected to each other like beads on a string, a community’s past, present and future are made visual in our contemporary work, often through the use of symbolic forms like bridges, pass-through holes and transitions from one material to another.
The transition from studio to site is exciting, critical and an extension of the process that began with the matrix. Flow of materials becomes flow of shapes as the womb of the studio pushes out the finished sculptural forms. Merging our sculptural project with the site requires planning, coordination with municipalities, physical plant staff, landscape architects, large equipment, structural engineers and, finally, a celebration!
In retrospect, our installed sculptural projects look as though they have always been there in the site, creating a community space, identifying a place, marking a way station in the imagination of the community.