Gary Bates’ Studio Visit
Okay, here’s one more post for the week, before too many things escape from my memory. I’ll be back after Turkey day to show you my holiday cards and maybe even some craft fair setup. Enjoy your holiday!
Last Friday I got to tag along with the grad students on a field trip to Amsterdam, Montana (!) to see Gary Bates’ studio. Gary is a local artist who makes large-scale metal sculptures out of things like bars from old jail cells and boiler parts. A lot of his pieces are kinetic and he says he intends for them to be a pulse on the environment. For example, this spinning piece (for which I don’t remember the name) weighs some ridiculous amount but the way it is balanced means even a small wind will set it spinning. Gary has a telescope in his house aimed towards the piece and he looks out to see what the weather is like based on how fast it is spinning.
His Wind Arc, on the MSU campus, spins only when the wind hits a certain speed (it’s a bent tube, and the spinning to wind speed ratio has to do with how far down he cuts the tube). He said one professor told him that he looks out to see how fast it is spinning to determine if it’s warm enough to ride his bike home, or if his wife needs to come and get him. He showed us another piece he’s working on that’s activated when it rains a certain amount. Here’s a sculpture on his land, where the mountain silhouette lines up perfectly if you lay on the grass and look at it.
In addition to all of the sculptures, I thought the land was just gorgeous. It’s a huge farm with a little house he built in the middle. I am still so amazed at how beautiful it is out here. I love learning about all of these thing that I’d seemingly never come across otherwise. Living in New York it was so easy to be consumed by everything that everyone is consumed by (the latest this, that and the other), but here I feel like I can breathe, and appreciate each beautiful thing, because I don’t pass a million influences on my way to work every day.
You can see lots more photos and stories of the art and the land (which are so interconnected) on my flickr page.