1 % for Art
When the Library was opened in September 2000, two pieces of art were selected by committee of the Percent for Public Art of the Oregon Arts Commission.
One piece installed outside the West Portico is called, “Three Elements” by Michihiro Kosuge.
The other located on the main staircase between the first and second floors is called, “Soliloquy” by Shelley Socolofsky and can be viewed from both the 1st floor lobby and the 2nd floor balcony.
Michihiro Kosuge – “Three Elements”
The three stone sculptures outside the Hamersly Library are by Portland artist, Michihiro Kosuge, a Professor of Art at Portland State University, who has numerous installations in Oregon, Washington, and California, including many commissions for public buildings.
The artist entitled his work “Three Elements.” He considers the sculpture nearest the sidewalk and street as an entrance marker for the library. The markings on the sculpture, made of basalt rock from the Columbia River Gorge, evoke the image of a winter tree. The boulder on the south retaining wall of the entry plaza is made of black Sierra granite. The main work, near the building entrance, is a tall sculpture with different kinds of stone and shapes. The top stone is white Sierra granite, the middle is black Sierra granite, and the base is columnar basalt rock. Kosuge explains that “each stone features a highly polished area to emphasize the play between man-made and natural textures. My hope is that the viewer ‘discovers’ the sculpture, enjoying its scale and texture and its relationship with the varying weather.”
Shelley Socolofsky – “Soliloquy”
The tapestry that hangs in the main stairwell inside the Hamersly Library was woven by Salem, Oregon artist and former instructor at Sprague High School, Shelley Socolofsky. Socolofsky has numerous installations throughout Oregon, including many in public buildings.
Socolofsky uses “Gobelins Tapestry” technique – a method developed in Europe during the middle ages from centuries old cloth making traditions. Tapestries were used as a narrative documentation of the times and were considered extremely valuable. They were often traded for prisoners of war and decorated the insides of war tents, churches, castles and houses to prevent draft.
Artist’s Design Concept: Upon ascending the staircase, the tapestry’s imagery begins to unfold – as a journey of discovery and new awareness – a metaphor that is appropriate for a place of discovery through expanded knowledge such as a university library.
There is an ‘opening’ within the maiden’s forehead – a cloudscape suggesting imagination, open-minded thinking, creative expansion and a search for new ideas. Her hair flows upward above her head. Her hair begins to transform into winter tree branches. At the top of the tapestry she has metamorphosed into a tree. There are baby birds in the tips of her branches – mouths open, upward symbolizing drinking in new knowledge, new thoughts, and new ideas.
Excerpts from a Anne Sexton poem, are woven into the tapestry down each border. The text is legible yet subtle; its intention is meant more for rhythm than to be read literally.