What kind of art lies within architecture? The newest exhibition at Bellevue College, The Pool Zones and Other Zones, invites gallery visitors to explore a diverse set of sculptures, which provoke the deeper relationships between architecture and the meaningful spaces they create.
The display uses an array of different materials normally used in construction, such as wood, brick and stone. However, the eye-catching factor to these pieces are the juxtaposition between the material used and the bright blues and greens that highlight the dimensions to the them. The combination of color and tangible materials illustrate different takes on architecture, ranging from economics to ethics, and the responsibility of society to value the impermanence of the structures it is built upon.
Chris Oliver, a Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Sculpture here at Bellevue College, explores the concepts of old and new structural design, and their relation to their surrounding socioeconomic and natural environments.
Each zone of the exhibition consists of a different architectural structure made by distinctive materials, which invite gallery visitors to create their own interpretations of the space. One piece is made up entirely of two-by-fours, the essential building blocks of construction, with vivid turquoise ends. Another work is a large portion of a building that will be torn down. Once observed closely, a visitor can see the inbuilt shelf inside the building, representing how something which isn’t broken, is still being torn down to be replaced by something modernistic. A third work shows three pieces of wood with bright green streaks leaning against a wall, using light to create shadow-like dimensions of what could be a home or monument. The main pool zone is located at the back of the exhibit, with various models of brown wood showing what a pool can look like, using an aqua color to highlight the interior. Each pool structure is unique from the other, expressing the different levels of exclusive socialization and relaxation experiences people have while enjoying them.
The sculptures express a variety of themes, building a connection between architecture and the environments that surround them. Each piece depicts a different social standing in society, from the scattered proximity of the houses and trailers display, to the bright elitist pools. The simple works create a complexity for viewers to think about the spaces they live in, and how the physical structures that hold them up and protect them, are often taken for granted. They present the question of, if we have a perfectly stable place to live and interact, is there truly a need to tear them down to build something anew? Lastly, they ask society as a whole to rethink the buildings they interact with on a day to day basis, and try to seek the beauty and complexities that lie within the art of their lives.
The Pool Zone and Other Zones exhibit breaks the barriers of a space being limited to four walls and a door. It asks us to consider how we can make something beautiful out of the most modest of materials, and to consider the way we take up space. It reminds us to appreciate the construction of the structures within our society, where everyday life happens.