Gray Matter

2022   304 Stainless Steel
48 × 96 × 96 ″

Gray Matter was commissioned by the City of Sebastopol, located in Sonoma County, California. It was paid for through the city’s percent for the arts program, collected from fees related to commercial construction projects.

This sculpture is located on the south face of the Sebastopol Public Library building. It is the first completed artwork funded by the city, and the second to have been commissioned. This work was selected from a group of over 20 proposals submitted by California artists. With Sebastopol’s interest in art as a whole and desire for community involvement, the city’s Public Arts Committee selected three finalists who were asked to submit maquettes for public viewing and input. The maquettes were first placed on display in the library and later presented to the public for comment at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. After consideration of public input, the committee selected Gray Matter. Upon presentation to the City Council, the artwork and funding was approved. Throughout the process, the public had opportunity to engage. This was an important part of the process for the City, who wanted community buy-in.

Gray Matter is both a pun on the message and materiality of the sculpture; it is of course made of gray stainless steel, carefully and meticulously hand sanded to follow the contours of the complex metal structure. It’s also about the human capacity for knowledge. The public library as a concept is not only an invitation for all to source vetted information, it is an extremely important symbol of the right to intellectual freedom. The work is meant to aesthetically enhance the building structure, draw the eye into the sculpture’s interwoven pathways, and to let the viewer relish in its complexity. Complex issues require complex understanding - a concept that must be reinforced at all levels of our society.

Sanding, assembly, and finishing of the work was done with the assistance of Emiko Ogasawara and Laura McGinnis. Installation was completed with the assistance of family, friends, and the City’s Public Works staff.

Read my statement from the dedication of Gray Matter: [PDF]