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7 posts from kinetic sculpture

Galaxy No. 3, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture

galaxy no 3 kinetic windvane
Galaxy No. 3, 2005
recycled steel.

139" H x 133" W x 14" at the base
NOTE: effective width/length is a radius of 133"

Galaxy No. 3 is the first kinetic piece I've done using sleeve bearings instead of pillow blocks. The bearings are inside the tubing that attaches the sculpture to the base, which keeps them out of the weather. The piece spins readily to point into the direction of the wind. It's a slow and graceful motion… I'd kind of like it if there was enough inertia to keep the piece in rotation, but I guess if the wind changes directions often enough (which it does here) you wind up with the same effect.

There are some in-progress photos of the construction of the piece here and here.

I love the way these abstracts are open to various interpretations. In one glance, you might see stars, planets and moons. In another, perhaps a fish. Yet another look suggests a man riding a boat… the way these different interpretations play off of one another is what really drives the poetic essence of each sculpture, at least for me. I end up with visions of a sailor riding a fish across the sky.

The Galaxy Series are Modernist inspired, abstract wind vanes made from recycled steel. The designs feature simple lines and shapes balanced to spin easily in a light breeze.  The  sculptures  disassemble into two pieces (horizontal arm and vertical base) for shipping. Each   is one of a kind and will not be reproduced.

The Galaxy Series  was inspired in part by David Smith's sculptures Australia and Royal Bird. They are also an exploration of negative space… The Galaxy pieces are structured around lines and curves, but  depend heavily as well on the open shapes enclosed by the lines.

Galaxy No. 3, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture Galaxy No. 3, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture Galaxy No. 3, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture Galaxy No. 3, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture
Alternate view Detail Detail Movie
click thumbnail to view larger image. enlarge

Galaxy No. 2, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture

Galaxy No. 2, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture
Galaxy No. 2, 2004
recycled steel.
82" H x 82" W x 14" D
Collection: Kathleen Glynn and Michael Moore

I kinda miss Galaxy No. 2… It was one of the pieces that really captured a part of my heart. On nasty, blustery days, I'd look out the window of the office and watch it just spinning merrily, happy in the wind that I wanted no part of. It was a good reminder that the weather is what you make of it (metaphorically or straight up).

The Galaxy Series are Modernist inspired, abstract wind vanes made from recycled steel. The designs feature simple lines and shapes balanced to spin easily in a light breeze.  The  sculptures  disassemble into two pieces (horizontal arm and vertical base) for shipping. Each   is one of a kind and will not be reproduced.

The Galaxy Series  was inspired in part by David Smith's sculptures Australia and Royal Bird. They are also an exploration of negative space… The Galaxy pieces are structured around lines and curves, but  depend heavily as well on the open shapes enclosed by the lines.

Kathleen Glynn and Galaxy No. 2 Galaxy No. 2, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture Galaxy No. 2, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture Galaxy No. 2, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture Galaxy No. 2, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture
Installed at the Moore/Glynn residence At Gallery Movies of  windvane in motion
click thumbnail to view larger image. enlarge

Galaxy No. 1, Kinetic Wind Vane Sculpture

Galaxy No. 1 wind vane
  Galaxy No. 1, 2004
recycled steel.
74" H x 54" W x 20" D
Private Collection

I love the graceful bearing housing on Galaxy No. 1… I enjoy coming up with different solutions on each piece for hiding the mechanical parts in a way that adds beauty to the overall design. This was, in my eyes, a particularly good solution. You can see the original (less elegant) version of this sculpture here. The earlier page also links to a film of the sculpture in motion.

The Galaxy Series are Modernist inspired, abstract wind vanes made from recycled steel. The designs feature simple lines and shapes balanced to spin easily in a light breeze. The  sculptures  disassemble into two pieces (horizontal arm and vertical base) for shipping. Each is one of a kind and will not be reproduced.

The Galaxy Series was inspired in part by David Smith's sculptures Australia and Royal Bird. They are also an exploration of negative space… The Galaxy pieces are structured around lines and curves, but depend heavily as well on the open shapes enclosed by the lines.

Galaxy No. 1 kinetic sculpture

Swiss Army Horse: A Kinetic Sculpture Toy That Does Everything

Swiss Army Horse 01
Swiss Army Horse, 2000
Recycled steel
, grout
dimensions to come
Collection: Marilyn Houlberg

I call this sculpture the Swiss Army Horse because it can be posed in so many positions that it reminds me of the famous knives. When I first made it, I was at my friend Kenneth's house (where I did all my welding back when I lived in Pilsen). A bunch of people showed up for the weekly brunch/art fest and we were sitting in the back yard playing with the horse. I had thought it was a cool enough piece, but nothing, you know, special. The more we played with it though, the more everyone liked it— "Look! It's Zombie Horse!" "Hey, he can fly like Superman!" "Wow! He sits, he lifts his leg to pee, he plays dead!" etc..

Back then, I was still figuring out stuff like pricing. Someone asked what I was gonna charge for the horse and I think I said something like 30 or 50 bucks. It was small and hadn't taken all that long to make. But the more poses we found, the more everyone though I should charge for it. It was kinda like an auction, and by the time brunch was ready I think we had the price up around $150. Which is what the horse did eventually sell for.

The body of the horse is  an old strap ratchet for tie downs. The front legs are wrenches, and the head was some kind of faucet or nozzle I'd found in a junk yard. I filled in parts of the head with black grout.

Swiss Army Horse 02 Swiss Army Horse 03
Alternate pose: Eating Alternate pose: Zombie horse
Swiss Army Horse 04 Swiss Army Horse 05
Alternate pose: Flying Alternate pose: Peeing
click thumbnail to view larger image. enlarge

Frog Fountain Wire Sculpture

Frog Fountain
Frog Fountain, 2004
Steel, wire, hose, copper, paint

61" L x 28" W x 12" H (65" H with stand)
Available from Cycling Salamander Gallery

The better part of two 1/4 mile spools of wire went into making this fountain. I found myself singing Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love? pretty much the whole time I was making it (47 miles of barbed wire, etc.). You can read more about the process and see photos of the frog in progress by visiting this entry of the studio blog.

Frog Fountain Frog Fountain Frog Fountain
Alternate view Detail Detail
  Frog Fountain Fountain5
  Movie Movie
click thumbnail to view larger image. enlarge

Wind Vane Commissioned by Cycling Salamander Gallery

Cycling Salamander commissioned sculpture
Cycling Salamander Windvane, 2004
Steel, bicycle, copper, bronze, aluminum, paint

132" x 105" x 12"
Commission

This sculpture was commissioned by  Cycling Salamander Gallery in Charlevoix, Michigan.

The bike used in the piece is the one that Rebbecca, the gallery's owner, learned to ride on. The bearing assembly for the rotating axis is so smooth that even a light breeze sets the piece in motion. The hat makes a cool rattling noise when it's spinning, as if to warm you not to bang your head on the big red arrow. You know, in case you didn't see the 8' 9" base spinning towards you…

See photos of the Salamander in progress.
See photos of the Salamander's official unveiling.

Cycling Salamander Kinetic Sculpture Cycling Salamander Wind Vane Cycling Salamander movie
Alternate view Alternate view Movie
whimsical wind vane Cycling Salamander sculpture Cycling Salamander
Me + the Salamander Detail Movie
click thumbnail to view larger image. enlarge

GrassChopper: A Kinetic Sculpture for People Who Don't Like to Mow

recycled steel kinetic sculpture
  Grasschopper Wind Vane, 2004.
Steel, cast iron, copper

60" H x 40" W x 20" D
Private Collection

One of the things I really enjoy about making abstract work is hearing different people's interpretations of the work… someone thought this piece looked like a grasshopper, hence the title.

I like the idea of moving this piece around the yard to actually mow the tops of very tall grass.

Grass chopper kinetic sculpture grasschopper kinetic sculpture
Detail view Movie
click thumbnail to view larger image. enlarge
John T. Unger