Creation of an Enlightening Narrative
The art works on display are part of a collection that began with Angela’s dorm room in college. She and Sanjeev bought their first work together, a Robert Rector painting, to celebrate Angela starting her engineering company. Since then, they have expanded the collection to include works by Oregonian, US and international artists, discovered as they traveled extensively for business and pleasure.
Angela has curated a selection of works from their personal collection that show the rich diversity of the contemporary art. Angela and Sanjeev love all kinds of art – paintings, photography, sculpture, video, LED, and mixed media. Both favor artists that use color and texture in new ways. They especially like works that manipulate surfaces and experiment with perspective.
These works illustrate how contemporary art, even large works, can be enjoyed as part of everyday life. “I do a lot of research on the artists we collect, but when I buy it is because I don’t want anyone else to have the work,” says Angela. To enjoy the art as she does, take a wine glass and stand/sit in front of each work. Trace your eye from corner to corner, top to bottom, left to right. Notice how the light plays off the surface of each work. Go back to the work multiple times, because it will always be different, just like the wine.
Saffron Fields Gong, Phil Seder
The first work seen on entering the garden is by Seder, a local artist, who specializes in metal sculpture with an emphasis on work that merges beauty and function, utilizing copper, brass, steel and wood. Seder combines these elements in unique and imaginative ways, highlighting the earthy, rich colors of the materials.
The gong was commissioned for the Saffron Fields garden. It contains references to the Koi pond, the vineyard, and natural beauty of its surroundings. The gong supports are carved from old growth fir recovered from a 1950s barn at Saffron Fields.
Tale Teller II, Jaume Plensa
Jaume Plensa is a Catalan sculptor considered to be one of Europe’s most important young artists. Titled Tale Teller II, the sculpture is life-sized and crafted from stainless steel and stone. Angela and Sanjeev knew they wanted the piece for their sculptural gardens upon first sight. “It was a gut reaction,” remembers Angela. “Sanjeev and I laid eyes on it and knew it was perfect for the Saffron Fields garden.” For Angela, the piece embodies the Saffron Fields essence as it represents the importance of sharing our personal stories with one another. The body comprises letters from different languages and the pose invites viewers to sit and create their own narrative. The piece is ideal for the Japanese garden at the facility, as Angela explains, “because it is symbolic of our intent with the tasting room—to create an experience that becomes part of the visitor’s personal story.”
The Portland Art Museum’s former Chief Curator Bruce Guenther calls it “a major recent work by Jaume Plensa.” Plensa’s work appeared in the Museum’s exhibition, Disquieted, in 2010.
Frozen Wave – Conservation of Turbulent Flow, Marc Quinn, b. 1964 London, works in London
Frozen Wave is from a series of small and monumental sculptures made of undulating arcs of stainless steel. The work’s
gestural shape originates from shells eroded by the endless action of waves. The sculpture evokes a primal sense, capturing the shells’ weathered appearance. In the jewel box, the sculpture’s surface reflects the mood of the sky and leads the viewer to contemplate the cascading fountains in the garden.
Frozen Wave was on display in the Contemporary Art wing of the Portland Art Museum prior to its installation at Saffron Fields.
Quinn gained notoriety for Self – a self-portrait of the artist, created from ten pints of his own blood. Recreated every 5 years, the 2006
Coded Spectrum, Leo Villareal, b. 1967 Albuquerque, New Mexico, works in New York
Inside the tasting room, light sculpture artist Leo Villareal’s Coded Spectrum presents a never repeating pattern of color spectrums. It pays homage to Ellsworth Kelly’s Spectrum V found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. This piece merges traditional abstractionist color and form with modern technology to reimagine one of Kelly’s most famous works. The color, intensity, duration and pattern change according to a complex software algorithm written by Villareal that balances the aesthetic with deliberate randomness.
Villareal has risen to national prominence with his installation Buckyball in New York’s Madison Square Park and the San Francisco Bay Bridge project.
Untitled, Robert Rector
Robert Rector’s Untitled was the first piece Angela and Sanjeev bought together. In Untitled, Rector creates tension through his balance of minimalism and expressionism, mass and emptiness, and natural and artificial. “Sanjeev and I had looked at probably 10 canvases when the gallery pulled this one down and we said ‘Ohhh!’ at the same time, then looked at one another and burst out laughing,” Angela recalls.
With deep blues, muted yellows, and sudden streaks of red, the piece evokes subtle chaos—mirroring the chaos and tension of our contemporary age. Angela describes how “the blue of this canvas changes from purple to ocean blue as the sun passes over it, creating a calm that is slashed by red with a violent spontaneity.”
Daisy Bell – mid summer, Jennifer Steinkamp
Cascading next to the tasting bar, digital media artist Jennifer Steinkamp’s Daisy Bell features a simulated curtain of falling flowers that bloom in summer. The name of the piece derives from the song sung by the first simulated voice in Bell Laboratories in 1961. At that time, it could not be imagined that such a voice could ever be thought as threatening. In 2001 Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke paid homage to the event by having Hal 9000 sing Daisy Bell as he loses his mind. Steinkamp’s Daisy Bell concerns the paradox of simulated nature using a beautiful cascade of poisonous flowers. Steinkamp’s work is found in museums throughout the world.
Mudras 1, 4, 6, Justin Guariglia
In 2007, Justin Guariglia published Shaolin: Temple of Zen with Aperature Foundation. The Shaolin Temple in China is the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and Kung Fu. Guariglia is considered the first photographer to be allowed inside the Shaolin Temple to document monks performing classic Kung Fu in the temple’s 1500-year history. The Zen Garden room contains 3 photos from this series. It shows the hands of Shaolin monks in three traditional Buddhist Mudras.
Untitled, Sharon Dowell
Sharon Dowell is a young artist who specializes in landscapes featuring natural and industrial elements. This Untitled commission shows Saffron Fields vineyard after its first harvest and captures the radiant color of the vineyard. Her works use color and manipulated perspective to create tension and isolation.
Dragon’s Eye and Full Moon @ Oregon, Darren Almond
Turner Prize finalist Darren Almond is known for his photographs taken during a full moon with an exposure time of 15 minutes or more. The photographs are bright as if taken during the day, but the remote locations appear mystical exposing the stillness of the night. Dragon’s Eye was taken in the Yellow Mountain range, which is a hallowed location in China. Full Moon @ Oregon is taken along the Oregon coast, where “the misty horizon and absence of living creatures suggests something otherworldly,” says Angela. Almond’s works are found in several major museums.
88s, John Pavlicek
John Pavlicek 88s builds on the tradition of Picasso and Braque through large-scale paintings with images of paper, fabrics, metal leaf, and other abandoned objects. Pavlichek draws inspiration from collages he creates with found materials. The family collection includes the small collage that became 88s with its bright palette with bands of raw blue in tension with red. Images of bus tickets, music, and floral wallpaper leave one feeling a buzz like an evening in a jazz bar.
Cumean Oracle, Dimitri Hadzi
Dimitri Hadzi’s Cumean Oracle is an excellent example of this great sculptor’s work. The Cumaean Sybil is one of the pagan prophets of early Christianity and was painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The sculpture references the cave, Antro della Sibilla, that matches Virgil’s description of the cave where the Sybil would provide prophecies. Hadzi created bronzes that draw you into their open space while grounding you in their solidarity. The patina of this piece is unique and was created through weeks of surface preparation. His works are found in major museums around the world.
Angela, Hannah Maybank
Hannah Maybank is a British artist discovered by chance at a Royal Academy of Art summer exhibition by Sanjeev when he was in London on business. Angela is the third piece from the artist to enter the collection. Angela explores the physical beauty of cultivated English roses using distressed surfaces, ripped forms and mixed media to reflect the cycles of birth and decay.