Christopher Weed Brings Three Dimensional Works to the World of Art Showcase
With the addition of veteran Colorado Springs-based sculptor Christopher Weed to the roster for the World of Art Showcase (www.worldofartshowcase.com), the scope of the first year event-a unique celebration of the visual arts at The Wynn Las Vegas December 20-22-just became grander in both appeal and (three-dimensional) size.
Actually, "massive" might be a more appropriate adjective, considering the scale of the eleven iconic works that the multi-faceted artist plans to display in the exhibition hall-after he transports them in a tractor-trailer. Though the work he is sharing represents a very small sample of the hundreds of large-scale public sculptures he has created over the past 20 years, the size and subjects of these items-from the 60" in diameter 850lb. Spore from his "Spores" installation, to the 17-foot-tall, 4,500 lb. abstracted Door titled "Portal." "Portal 2" from his current display in downtown Colorado Springs-typifies the uniqueness and large scale vision of Weed's creations. His sculptures average from 25-30 feet high and weigh many thousands of pounds each.
In 2007, 5280 Magazine named his work "Opening Doors" at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center the "Best Public Art in Denver." Recent commissions include those for the RTD light rail and for the cities of Aurora, Lafayette, Boulder and Fort Collins. His work has appeared in collections everywhere from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Miami to New York, Seattle, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and his hometown of Philadelphia.
"Portal 2" is an especially emotional work that is part of Public Art "Portal 1 and Portal 2," a temporary installation at the Plaza of the Rockies, It is accessible and open to the public through June 2013. Consisting of two larger than life, abstract retro televisions, Portal 1 stands 30' high and weighs over 4.5 tons. Portal 2 stands 18' tall and has incorporated video elements, including images of Weed's "Spores" installation at Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, with 20 spores in all.
The videos were created by Weed's brother Matthew, the youngest of seven siblings whose life was cut short in July 2011 by leukemia. They run 24 hours a day throughout the 2012 exhibit. Highlighting Matthew's unique and clever vision through videography, the powerful two-piece exhibit is Weed's homage to his late brother-perfectly placed because Matthew regularly visited the ice rink that used to be at the Plaza.
"My brother was multi-talented and shot dozens of short films and other videos in addition to the very artistic work he did on the Spores video," says Weed. "Setting up the Spores installation was quite an event, as the airport granted us one day to load up 20 sculptures and place them in a restricted area dotting the landscape. Matthew set up his camera and he shot this imagery for four hours along with with two other videographers. The spores appear as tumbleweeds and or nautical mines. There was a lot of footage he shot that we hadn't gotten to before he passed away, so the Portal 1 and 2 installation was an opportunity to incorporate his video into one of the TVs. Portal 2 has two 55" LED monitors which loop the video. Portal 1 which is outside acts as a beacon, with RGB/LED lighting on the bottom of the oval that does a slow glow throughout a vast color spectrum, from one color to the next."
Though Weed is only bringing six "spores" to his exhibit at the World of Art Showcase, the full project of 18 spores he exhibited at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center as part of their award winning exhibit "Conflict-Resolution," representations of war and resolve. Blake Milteer FAC Curator described it this way: "Spores simultaneously suggests something playful yet threatening, natural yet out-scaled, organic yet industrial. Accordingly, the forms at-once appear as seed spores, tumbleweeds, thistles, and nautical mines." The sculptures are constructed of powder coated steel spheres with 400, to 475 solid half-inch steel stems welded to each sphere.
Weed also plans to bring to the World of Art Showcase his work "The Door," It is 17 feet high and weighs 4,500 lbs. It is notable for its abstract shape and precarious, balance, skewing the viewers perceptions of reality and is currently on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center after a show in Michigan. Weed also created a unique exhibit featuring "The Door" in the middle of a field titled "Portal", this sculpture is a metaphor for the doors that are opened in ones mind, when we strive to reach a higher level of consciousness, whether intellectually or spiritually.
Another recent work of note is "Red Paperclips," larger than life sculptures that won first prize at the 2009 Art on the Streets Exhibition in Colorado. The pieces, which literally look like oversized red paperclips, are 24 feet high, with a combined weight of 3.5 tons. This and "The Door" represent Weed's desire to show the graceful design of everyday items we take for granted.
While some of Weed's work is geared towards spiritual and philosophical reflection, in general his goal is to create rich impressions that have the ability to touch and connect people of all ages in ways they might not expect. "In my work as a sculptor," he says, "I use primarily luminous and tactile materials, creating abstract and organic shapes that draw the viewer nearer. My purpose is to overwhelm the observer using size, variation and multiplicity of elements. The intent is not to shock, but to ultimately inspire a sense of awe, transforming the viewer to another place, if even for a brief moment. My style encompasses sheer size and bright colors, embodying a sophisticated, yet child like quality that creates a bond with both children and adults.
"I've often been told that people know my work when they see it, even if at first they don't know for sure that I created it," says Weed. "Besides the larger than life elements, I think that is due to an almost childlike quality I bring to each work. What I am striving for is the opportunity for adults to view art again through a child's eye. As we get older, adults may become a bit rigid and regimented, losing some of our youthful exuberance. I want to heighten their excitement and make sure adults that see my sculptures lighten up, if even for a brief moment. My work forces the viewer to stop dead in their tracks, inspiring them to reassess their daily lives and values. I do this well because I am still a child at heart and like to play like a kid."
All that makes perfect sense in light of the fact that as a child, Weed immersed himself in his carpenter father's home studio/workshop for hours daily, creating both functional and non functional objects. He later graduated with a BFA from the University of Maryland, with two years spent studying in Southern Germany. "I was always good with my hands," he says, "and have fond memories of working with my dad, being exposed to the whole contractor thing, surrounded by cement trucks, heavy machines and large tools. While I was building my career as an artist, I also built art deco furniture for a living. With hundreds of pieces sold, some of these items made their way into family and friends homes, but I choose to live as a minimalist so I have very few of these early pieces in my home."
Weed is excited about the opportunity to participate in the World of Art Showcase for a number of reasons: "I know they're doing everything possible to make sure some of the world's most enthusiastic art collectors are there, and Las Vegas is the perfect place to attract such a clientele. I am one of the few three dimensional artists in the show, and it will be interesting to see how people respond to my work outside of its typical environment. I'm optimistic that I will make many great connections and look forward to meeting clients and the general public at large. Although in its first year, I feel that this event will be a huge success that will grow next year. I look forward to bringing larger sculptures next year. The event's success will be a great reassurance that art of all kinds is still an important part of people's daily lives."