Orphan - CODAworx


Submitted by Clayton Binkley

Client: Oregon Arts Commission / Oregon State Treasury

Location: Salem, OR, United States

Completion date: 2022

Artwork budget: $220,000

Project Team

artist collaborator

John Grade

project manager

Peg Butler


Orphan is a collaborative work created by Clayton Binkley and John Grade and installed at the Oregon State Treasury in Salem, Oregon. The sculpture is kinetic and inspired by the tectonic history of the Pacific Northwest and how seismic events shape the physical and societal landscape that we inhabit.
Inspired by a coastal sea-stack rock outcropping, the two parts of the sculpture are made of weathering steel. The larger, static form is 21 feet high. The smaller, moving form cleaves away from the larger form, tilts from vertical to horizontal and travels 17 feet away down a slight decline. The movement is imperceptibly slow; the smaller form will travel a full cycle apart and then back again to meet the larger form roughly every three to five months. Each time a visitor opens the front door of the building, a mechanical system is engaged that transfers a small portion of this human energy toward moving the sculpture. People entering and leaving the building directly influence the sculpture becoming participants in the changing relationship between its two forms.


The artwork is thematically derived from the goals of the building itself and physically responds to the scale of the building and landscape that surrounds it.


As a collaborative project, John and Clayton developed all aspects of the project together and carried out the fabrication with assistance from John's studio staff. As the project is physically connected to the building, close coordination was required with the building owner, architect and construction team.