Lawrence Argent :: I see what you mean

"I see what you mean"

Public Art Projects / Denver Convention Center, Denver, Colorado

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"I see what you mean"

Size: 40ft x 24ft x 22ft  /  Material: Composite materials and Steel  /  Location: City and County of Denver, Denver Convention Center Expansion Public Art Project, Denver, Colorado

Completed: 2005

Whilst toying with the notion of a "Convention Center" and visualizing the vast numbers of people moving through and participating with this environment, my idea for this project emerged as a core response to the following:

  • Meeting place
  • Exchange of ideas, transference of information
  • Regional western art and the thought of what that is from a non- residents perspective
  • The natural surroundings of Colorado

The architecture of this new structure is such a dominant presence in the location I thought it best to place a work that did not conflict with the essences of its design or stature, and which would embrace its uniqueness of form and the relationship to the space it occupies. Scale therefore, became an extremely important consideration.

I also wanted to bring the mountains (the assumed idea of Colorado) down to Denver to prompt visitors' awareness of the uniqueness of their location. I thought about what it is like to be a resident here and the journey one takes down either corridor (14th St. and Speer Blvd) when one notices there is a convention occurring. There is a psychological peaking of one's interest to the sense of wonder and curiosity of the activities/events inside. With this came further development towards a broader audience's interest and fascination. This entailed the capricious reversal of dynamics and the inclusion of all that is Colorado. Obviously, no one entity really can possess the accouterments to define all of Colorado but there are icons that are used profusely for this relationship.

With a tongue in cheek approach, I thought about the fauna being representative of the mountains. The type of fauna emerged as an image of the bear, and more specifically, the black bear. For not only do we see this as part of the inherent natural landscape, now you see it on many levels as a not so natural landscape. The image of the bear has been transformed into chains aim-sculpted personages or somewhat realistic representations that confer a "Regional Western Art' aesthetic.

The project is made from composite materials. Kreysler and Associates in American Canyon, CA were the fabricators. The external surface is coated in a lapis lazuli blue, polymer concrete. The form and shape of the bear have been extrapolated from three-dimensional digital files. The bear was digitally abstracted creating a faceted surface structure. It appears as if it is pushing its nose and paws against the glass of the building attempting to peer inside the Convention Center to see what is happening. Both from afar and within close proximity, curiosity and fascination are sensations that are instilled. In light of this humorous lighthearted play there lies perhaps an essence that reflects nature upsetting the balance of the viewer and the viewed.