A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

To really see this, you must get close

Written December 21st, 2020 by Hasso Hering

As you can see, Albany’s new art installation is the result of work that is both heavy-duty industrial and extremely intricate. But to appreciate it, you have to get close.

You have to step right under the petals of these 12-foot-tall renditions of Oregon wildflowers in order to see the images of pollinators — butterflies and bees among them — that artist Dee Dee Morrison cut into those curved sheets of steel.

I wrote about this art project Friday night after it was put up during the day. Monday I got the first chance to take a look during daylight. Here’s another view.

From a little farther away, the individual pieces of the sculptures are harder to make out, getting mixed up with what’s around and behind them:

Their visual impact is diminished by the distance the four pieces are from each other. In the original design, before it was changed for reasons of cost, the flowers were more numerous and close together, and they worked as a single composition.

The Albany Arts Commission chose this site for the project — at Ninth and Lyon — because it was at the entrance to downtown and would be seen by people coming down the Pacific Boulevard off-ramp to Lyon Street.

On Monday, though, this was the view from the direction of the off-ramp:

You’d think that a construction like this belongs on a hill so you look at it from below against the sky, not from a distance and against a cluttered background.

There are no hills downtown. So it was placed in this spot, and if you want a proper impression, you’ll just have to park your car and take a walk until you stand under the petals to see what is there.

One more thing. City officials and everybody else have been calling this a work of “public art,” which it is. But it needs a name, a name worthy of the effort and skill that a talented artist put into this work. (hh)

12 responses to “To really see this, you must get close”

  1. Bill Kapaun says:

    How about Derelict Square?

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Let’s not get too appreciative of the fabrication. The design and cutting of metal on a CNC is routine.

    Let’s celebrate how this project makes it fun to play buzzword bingo.

    The natural energies and the community context of these leaves on sticks.
    Honoring a diverse community.
    Incorporating local biodiversity into the design.
    The involvement of local environmentalists to create sustainable public artwork.
    The powerful social function and engagement of community as they drive the off-ramp.
    The experience of nature that enables citizens to fight and preserve it.

    This is an $80,000 public “investment” (a euphemism for spending, but I digress).

    FEEL good about it. That’s an order.

  3. Jeff Senders says:

    “that artist Dee Dee Morrison cut into those curved sheets of steel”
    As an artist myself I do not take credit for work I do not do.
    Hasso, these images were cut into the steel by computer controlled robots, and not by the hand of the artist.

    This is not meant to diminish the artwork–just for clarification.

  4. Jacobin Hanschlatter says:

    Name it “The Hering Aggravator”

  5. Mike says:

    That’s a really cool project. Hopefully the city can find a way to highlight it a bit more with lighting, benches, etc.

  6. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Two fitting names:

    1. Area 80,000


    2. Rusty Nimrod

  7. Patricia Eich says:

    Thank you for the close up look Hasso, those are really beautiful. I will definitely take a walk around those to see for myself.

  8. Ray Kopczynski says:

    For sure, they’re beautiful for an evening walk in decent weather!

  9. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Ahhhhh….taxpayers love spending $80,000 to satisfy the beauty requirements of a politician on an evening walk in decent weather.

    In the meantime, I’m certain Ray will rationalize all kinds of nonsense in his vote to balance an unbalanced budget.

    Not much has changed since I left Albany, huh Ray?

    • Ray Kopzynski says:

      Huge changes with local election. And no need to try and rationalize a balanced budget since we have one.

  10. hj.anony1 says:

    Dang! Forgot to look again. Too many brake lights. They distracted me.

    Shsss “Shadle”!

  11. CHEZZ says:

    I would call it Wildflower Lane. I don’t know what restrictions ODOT has for this space. It is a green space and parklike. There are trees and a walkway here. A few benches for viewing the art, taking a respite, or having lunch here sounds quite satisfying.


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