Tucson, Arizona

I enjoy meeting artists as I travel across the US and Canada. To my pleasant surprise, after emailing Barbara Grygutis for permission to feature her work on my last post, I received an affirmative answer to my request for a studio visit.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio

Her studio in Tucson is at the back of a historic building inside a greenish cage, as Barbara calls it. It was a delight to walk through the wood and glass doors and enter Barbara’s space.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio

The studio is considerable and airy, with multiple areas, each with a different purpose: spot for the printer, a place for administration, a corner for the computer-assisted design specialist who turns her ideas and designs into computerized renderings. A large shelf with archives of maquettes/models and workstations everywhere... I was given a complete tour of her studio and the first look at some of Barbara’s up-coming public sculptures.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio

Stuff is widely distributed and filled with the characteristics of Barbara’s work and personality.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio

Amazed to see the architectural drawings and maquettes for such work as Front Row Center and Sonoran Passage in Tucson.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio, maquette for Front Row Center

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio, maquette for Front Row Center

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio

Large drawings of new work in progress covered windows and walls. Notes or changes had been made directly on the drawings. The stories and connection to their environment were shared... We talked about the desert and how it related to some of the pieces as in Sonoran Passage where pleated and tapered columns look like stylized saguaros.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio, sketches and images for Sonoran Passage

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Barbara Grygutis' studio, sketches and images for Sonoran Passage

I went back on 22nd Street to view Sonoran Passage from below the Parkway. These works of art are best viewed at all angles to understand the connection and interaction to the spaces.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Sonoran Passage by Barbara Grygutis from 22sd street

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Sonoran Passage by Barbara Grygutis from 22sd street

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Sonoran Passage by Barbara Grygutis from 22sd street

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Sonoran Passage by Barbara Grygutis from 22sd street

As one of the nation's most sought-after sculptor, Barbara impressed me with her openness to share and her warm welcome.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, à bientôt Barbara Grygutis

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, à bientôt Barbara Grygutis

Thanks Barbara for a wonderful tour and looking forward to Happy Hour next year!

Texas and Arizona—Environmental Sculptures

A public art piece in Ohio entitled Garden of Constants made me curious about Barbara Grygutis' other works. So far, I have visited two pieces in Texas, Leon Creek Crossing in San Antonio and Silver Lining in El Paso.

Leon Creek Crossing created in 2016, is a layered, multi-dimensional work of art designed for the Hausman Road Bridge at Leon Creek Greenway in San Antonio, Texas. The artwork brings images from the natural shapes of the riparian plant community up from below to create an inviting pedestrian walkway along the otherwise concrete bridge. The canopy of the passage echoes the tree canopy along the Leon Creek Greenway below.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux,  Leon Creek Crossing  by Barbara Grygutis, seven aluminum units, each 14’ H x 14’ W x 10’

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Leon Creek Crossing by Barbara Grygutis, seven aluminum units, each 14’ H x 14’ W x 10’

© 2017 Louise Levergneux,  Leon Creek Crossing  by Barbara Grygutis, a series of seven arched sculptures, evoking natural shapes, combine to form a sculptural space through which the viewer passes

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Leon Creek Crossing by Barbara Grygutis, a series of seven arched sculptures, evoking natural shapes, combine to form a sculptural space through which the viewer passes

© 2017 Louise Levergneux,  Leon Creek Crossing  by Barbara Grygutis

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Leon Creek Crossing by Barbara Grygutis

© 2016 Katie McCann,  Leon Creek Crossing  by Barbara Grygutis, at night, Leon Creek Crossing is lit from within to create vibrant blue color effects, integrated light

© 2016 Katie McCann, Leon Creek Crossing by Barbara Grygutis, at night, Leon Creek Crossing is lit from within to create vibrant blue color effects, integrated light

We drove to El Paso, Texas to see Barbara's Silver Lining. Fourteen identical sculptures created in 2009, emanate computer-synchronized kinetic light. They are sited on the second story of the El Paso Civic Center to create an elevated pedestrian promenade, which circles the civic center. The circa 1964 building becomes the canvas for a shifting display of brilliant colored light. 

One can no longer walk through the sculptures as the second floor is barricaded. I shot my photos from the barricade and the stairs. It is unfortunate that the city has permitted this building to fall into disrepair. Barbara's sculptures still look good!

© 2017 Louise Levergneux,  Silver Lining  by Barbara Grygutis

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Silver Lining by Barbara Grygutis

© 2017 Louise Levergneux,  Silver Lining  by Barbara Grygutis, fourteen sculptures, 18’ H x 6’ D x 6’ W

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Silver Lining by Barbara Grygutis, fourteen sculptures, 18’ H x 6’ D x 6’ W

© 2017 Louise Levergneux,  Silver Lining  by Barbara Grygutis

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Silver Lining by Barbara Grygutis

© 2009 Vanessa Monsisvais,  Silver Lining  by Barbara Grygutis, computer-synchronized light

© 2009 Vanessa Monsisvais, Silver Lining by Barbara Grygutis, computer-synchronized light

While traveling through Tucson, last December, I had a chance to view Front Row Center built in 1999, at the University of Arizona. Front Row Center, the environmental sculpture consists of ten bronze chairs and five small amphitheater units used during outside performances and gatherings.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux,  Front Row Center  by Barbara Grygutis, integrated into the front landscape of the Marroney Theatre at the University of Arizona Fine Arts Department

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Front Row Center by Barbara Grygutis, integrated into the front landscape of the Marroney Theatre at the University of Arizona Fine Arts Department

© 2017 Louise Levergneux,  Front Row Center  by Barbara Grygutis, 12'H x 3'W x 3'D, fabricated sheet bronze, handmade tile, landscape

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Front Row Center by Barbara Grygutis, 12'H x 3'W x 3'D, fabricated sheet bronze, handmade tile, landscape

© 2017 Louise Levergneux,  Front Row Center  by Barbara Grygutis

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Front Row Center by Barbara Grygutis

We are back in Tucson, Arizona, and serendipitously to my surprise while driving on Kino Parkway I saw Sonoran Passage a sculptural treatment of the major interchange bridge connecting Kino Parkway over 22nd Street.

This gateway constructed in 2015 is the entry point to downtown Tucson and the University of Arizona from the airport. It includes 14 large sculptural elements integrated into the overall layout of the bridge. The bridge piers echo the sculpture forms’ design. The inspiration for this cohesive artwork was the cross-section of the Saguaro cactus, uniquely native to the Sonoran desert setting. Pedestrian rail arches additionally pull together all of the sculptural elements of the bridge. The sculptures are lighted at dusk creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere for commuters around the clock.

© 2018, Louise Levergneux,  Sonoran Passage  by Barbara Grygutis, 40’ H x 100’ L x 60’ D, aluminum, concrete, light

© 2018, Louise Levergneux, Sonoran Passage by Barbara Grygutis, 40’ H x 100’ L x 60’ D, aluminum, concrete, light

© 2018, Louise Levergneux,  Sonoran Passage  by Barbara Grygutis

© 2018, Louise Levergneux, Sonoran Passage by Barbara Grygutis

© 2018, Louise Levergneux,  Sonoran Passage  by Barbara Grygutis

© 2018, Louise Levergneux, Sonoran Passage by Barbara Grygutis

© 2015, Katie McCann,  Sonoran Passage  by Barbara Grygutis

© 2015, Katie McCann, Sonoran Passage by Barbara Grygutis

Barbara’s sculptural environments enhance our surroundings and reveal unspoken relationships between nature and humanity. She engages the public through her works of art by identifying themes meaningful to each specific site and community. With over 75 large-scale commissioned works of public art throughout North America, Barbara is recognized internationally for her sculptural environments.

When you look at a city from a different and new perspective, one can find the most extraordinary phenomenon for the mind and eyes.

Looking forward to visiting other cities that have commissioned Barbara’s work.