For his contribution to the Stuart Collection, Two Running Violet V Forms (his first permanent installation in California) Irwin was drawn to the eucalyptus groves east of the Mandeville Center and adjacent to the Faculty Club. The contradiction inherent in this man-made forest appealed to him; the geometric regularity of the grid of trees is balanced by the infinite variety of light and detail which the natural setting nevertheless provides. Irwin installed two fence-like structures in V-forms amidst the trees. The "fences" are blue-violet, plastic-coated, small gauge chain-link fencing supported by stainless steel poles which average twenty-five feet in height. The structure maintains a constant elevation as the hillside terrain drops gently beneath it. Purple flowering ice plant, echoing but not matching the color of the chain link, is planted under the fence.
"The eucalyptus groves at UCSD were planted by the railroads and meant to be cut down and used for railroad ties. The wood turned out to be unusable for the ties so the vast areas that were planted have become a kind of legacy for Southern California and they cover a fair part of the UCSD campus, now dedicated as "park". There had been talk of getting rid of the eucalyptus and planting more grass, but that caused a protest and didn't happen. In the early 80s when Irwin was looking around campus for a site, he kept coming back to the grove areas because he loved the way the light played and also the sense of relief from the more "corporate" landscaping of much of the campus. I like to say that every artistic decision he made was based on qualities that exist in the grove. He played off the orchard-like geometry, the slope of the hill, the changing light. The main section of the "fence" goes right down the middle of a straight stretch between the rows. The whole installation could be called a "ribbon of sky" brought in to the grove. What Irwin calls attention to is the way light changes as one moves through it and as the day passes, or clouds go by overhead. It is continually different depending on time, weather - fog and rain are particularly dramatic -, whether the ice plant is blooming, the butterflies flying, and where one stands or walks. Not one tree was damaged during the installation in April of 1983. It is remarkable that now nearly 30 years later the work still stands, the color has not faded at all, the screens don't sag and we have only high-pressure hosed it 3 times. It is a truly site-specific or site-generated work that still lives and breathes as part of the grove. It is one of the many ways that Irwin used "scrims" to lightly change a place, or a room." - Mary Beebe, Director of the Stuart Collection. January, 2014.
- Creation Date
John Muir College: University of California, San Diego; La Jolla, California, United States
- Physical Description
stainless steel; chain link fence; Ice plant
Artist prefers the title, "Untitled"
- Corporate Name
Point: 32.878879, -117.23885
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Architecture and City Planning
Garden and Landscape
Sculpture and Installations
- Rights Holder
- Cohen, Becky (American photographer, contemporary)
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