Feats of Strength

1999
Tom Otterness
Bronze. 15" h.
Photo Credit: 
David Scherrer

 

Tom Otterness and Beyer share common ground not only in their skills in engaging the public but also in their interest in types of narration. Since Otterness' Feats of Strength (1999) has come to the University, one cannot help but look again at or revise formerly held opinions about Beyer's troll-like ''old man'' and Osheroff's and Melim's Disney-like animals at the Ridgeway Complex. Otterness enlarges his character sketches beyond Beyer's native folklore to create a narrative cycle in Haskell Plaza where global references reverberate. While Otter­ness works in bronze on the same small scale as Osheroff's and Melim's ceramic figures,-beaver, fawn, or owl- he goes beyond these artists/craftsmen to change the role of decorative scale. Rather than using the typical monumental scale of public art, he miniaturizes his figures, but he still gives them the same seriousness of most allegories found in large stone monuments in public squares. He embraces the fantasy scale of Disney and Looney Tune Cartoons, but places the viewer not in front of a distant cinema screen but rather seats them directly at tables or in tablescapes.

 

Funding provided by

Western Washington University in partnership with one-half of one percent for art law, Art in Public Places Program, Washington State Arts Commission.

Audio interpretation of Feats of Strength

 

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