Client: SAN JOSE DEPT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS
Location: SAN JOSE, CA, United States
Completion date: 2012
Artwork budget: $285,000
Public Art Agent
San Jose Dept. of Cultural Affairs
“Stratigraphy”, a two-year project, is a 28′ tall bronze and granite sculptural relief located on the face of the elevator bay of what is called the “sun porch”, a central area that is designed for gatherings and celebration. The artwork is itself a celebration of the Bascom (local) community. “Stratigraphy” is a visual, vertical timeline of the areas culture and history, telling the story through a vast array of representative objects; it is meant to give the idea of a cut-away at an archeological site that reveals a social history.
The goals of incorporating “Stratigraphy” a 2500 lb bronze into Rob Quigley’s Architectural design for Bascom Community Center and Library were to create an artwork that was seamlessly integrated into the façade of the building. The sculpture was created to fit into an existing angled wall on the face of the elevator shaft and wraps around the bay and onto the second floor landing.
Conceptually, the sculpture was created to honor the history of the region. For example, Baskets and acorns pay homage to the original Ohlone inhabitants; the region's agricultural and canning era are conveyed through fruit, cans and canning jars, which then transitions into the electronics and technology era. The work captures the pulse of the Bascom Library and Community Center facility through representative objects: balls and athletic items for the community center and books that could be found in the library. At the top is a fruit tree with figures from trophies dangling from its branches - a celebration of the past rooting down into the present and blooming trophies.
The collaboration for this artwork began at the conceptualizing stage. I attended many community meetings in which locals described their vision and ideas for representative objects. Lists were compiled and this became the foundation for the creation of Stratigraphy.
Due to the level of difficulty in creating a monumental bronze for such a tight space I worked very closely with the Design team, Art Works Foundry, Berkeley, CA and Lynn Rogers from the Office of Cultural Affairs in San Jose.