One of the many amazing pieces of art that decorates the SPSCC campus is Proscenium Flowers by artists Jean Whitesavange and Nick Lyle. This piece is made up of five large steel flowers. It is intended to be aesthetically pleasing and bring artistry to an otherwise empty space.
The artists, Jean Whitesavage and Nick Lyle, have been creating together since 1991, when they both moved to Seattle. Their current studio is in Whidbey Island, Washington. Whitesavage studied painting as well as steel and bronze sculpting at a few universities, including one in Rome. Lyle, on the other hand, majored in Arts in the History of Ideas before working in a number of crafts, including cabinetmaking, glass blowing, sculpting, and many others. Together they are best known for making magnificent sculptures and drawings of nature. They have over twenty-five public art pieces displayed around Washington State and others around the United States. Both are well known around the country and are often commissioned to create new works by organizations and cities.
All of their works, regardless of medium, are of flowers, vines, trees, and leaves. The majority of their works are made of steel and these sculptures are what they’re most famous for. Both Whitesavage and Lyle do independent works for small and/or private projects but their fantastic public displays show what a great team they make.
Their piece, Proscenium Flowers, is made up of five parts hanging in the lobby of the Minneart Center for the Arts. Each part is a different flower. All of these flowers are extremely large, about five feet in length, width, and height.
The first flower, located above the beginning of the lobby stairs, is the only full flower with a stem. The flower is light yellow on the outside but a striking red on the inside of the petals and there’s a bright white center inside. The shape is interesting because there is what looks like five spikes with rounded ends on one side then five small petals pointing outwards on the other side. There’s also a bright spring green stem attached to the flower with three full leaves branching out from the bottom of the long stem.
Almost an exact copy of the top of the first part is the second part. This second flower has no stem but looks the same as the flower atop the first one. The only differences are that the second one is much larger and instead of a full yellow outside, the five rounded spikes are the same striking red at the inner petals.
Hanging by the second floor landing of the lobby is the third flower. This flower is dark blue in color and looks like a daffodil. The petals seem well bloomed as they hang from the center of the flower. The leaves are long and narrow, sprouting from beneath the petals. The best view of this flower is from the second floor landing because it puts you right next to the piece and allows one to see the beautiful center as well.
The fourth flower in this collection is the closest to the ceiling. It hangs up high and between the second and third flower. From the first floor this looks exactly the same as the third flower. It color is a lighter blue and overall size looks a bit smaller, but the shape of the flower matches that of the other blue flower. The difference between this flower and its look alike is only visible from the perfect angle on the second floor landing. From there it is clear that this flower is more like an iris than a daffodil. The way the petals fold out from the center shows how different these two flowers are.
Last but not least is the fifth part of this large and gorgeous piece. This part has no flower but rather leaves. It hangs in the far right corner of the lobby and catches the eye with its lovely green color. Overall this part is rather flat with three braches meeting in the middle and three little leaves attached to each branch. Both the shape and color match that of the leaves connected to stem of the first flower. It seems that parts one, two, and five are all connected. Part one is the whole while parts two and five highlight the first.
These beautiful flowers are simply that, beautiful. The point of this piece isn’t to inspire deep thought of the intricate meanings that it represents but to bring beauty to a room. This piece is simply fun and nice to look at. Whitesavage and Lyle created the flowers because they enjoy making art out of steel. It was then placed in the art center so that others could enjoy the flowers’ charm.
Proscenium Flowers is a rather literal name for this piece. The proscenium is the part of a theatre’s stage directly in front of the curtain. This piece is located at the front of the arts building right before the theatre. Though the flowers are not directly in front of the stage, they are in the waiting area before it, which is why they were named so.
Jean Whitesavage and Nick Lyle’s piece, Proscenium Flowers, brings color and grace to the lobby of the Minneart Center for the Arts. It doesn’t contain the symbolism that the pieces in the Gallery next to it do, but it doesn’t need it. This piece is there to beautify the space and give the patrons waiting outside of the theatre a nice view. The immense amount of detail in each large flower makes it so that a person could spend hours looking at them from different angles and still have more to see.