The Art Collection at Saffron Fields
The art works in the hospitality center are part of a collection that began with Angela decorating her dorm room in college. She was lucky enough to marry an art lover just a few years later. Angela and her husband, Sanjeev, bought their first work together, a Robert Rector painting, to celebrate Angela starting her engineering company. Over the years, they expanded the collection to commemorate anniversaries, birthdays, and other notable events. The collection includes works by Oregonian, US and international artists, discovered as they traveled extensively for business and pleasure.
Angela selected these works from their personal collection to show the rich diversity of the contemporary art. Angela loves all kinds of art – paintings, photography, sculpture, video, LED, and mixed media. She favors artists that use strong color, manipulate surfaces and experiment with perspective. “I have a particular affinity for artists who need to apply a high degree of skill along with science and math,” says Angela.
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 before I buy. 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 in front of a work. Stand far enough back that you can take it all in. Notice how the light plays off the surface. Move closer and focus on sections of it. Come back multiple times and you’ll find it different each time. Just like wine, the experience is of a time and place.
Phil Seder, works in Portland, OR
The first work seen on entering the garden is by Phil Seder, 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.
Untitled, Robert Rector, b. 1946 Pascagoula, Mississippi, works in Baton Rouge, LA
Robert Rector’s Untitled was the first work of fine art that 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 several works by Rector that we loved, but we were sold when this work was pulled from the storage rack. We both said ‘Ooohhh!’ at the same time, then looked at one another and burst out laughing. The gallery director just smiled.” 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.”
88s, John Pavlicek, b.1946 Lubbock, TX, works in Houston, Texas
Pavlicek builds on the tradition of Picasso and Braque through collages of paper, fabrics, metal leaf, paint and found materials. 88s’ bright palette of bands of raw blue in tension with red and images of bus tickets, music, and floral wallpaper remind of her of things that she most enjoys. Angela describes how she was “instantly in love with this painting since it combined my love of math with gardening, music, and travel.”
Pavlicek started this painting by first creating a small collage of bus tickets, music sheets, tape, wallpaper, and other paper scraps. Once the composition was just right, he then painted the large canvas based on the composition. Angela has the original collage in her collection.
Cumaean Oracle, Dimitri Hadzi, b. 1921 New York d. 2006
Cumaean Oracle is an excellent example of this Greek-American 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 gave prophecies.
Hadzi created bronzes that draw you into their open spaces, while grounding you in their solidarity. The patina of Cumaean Oracle is unique and was created through weeks of surface preparation.
Hadzi’s works can be found in major collections and museums around the world. Other notable projects: Willamette River Oracle (1974) in Eugene OR and River Legend (1975) in Portland OR.
Flower Fields, James Surls, b. 1943, works in Carbondale, Colorado
Flower Fields was commissioned from James Surls for the hospitality center’s Jewel Box. The work was hand-carved by Surls from old growth fir recovered from a Dairy Barn on the Saffron Fields property. “With the breathtaking beauty of the gardens and vineyard viewable from the Jewel Box, only someone of James’ caliber could create a work that would have a strong presence in the space,” says Angela.
“From time to time the opportunity presents itself and the invitation is given to step into the history of a generation,” says Surls. “To be asked to make this work for the Jewel Box at Saffron Fields, this place of quiet beauty, is one of the great moments of my life.” Surls describes his sculpture, as an “all over” piece, where the viewer looking up to the sculpture is taken into blooming floral fields.
Surls, one of America’s foremost living sculptors, is featured in public collections, such as New York’s MoMA, Whitney and Guggenheim. The installation at Saffron Fields was featured in the documentary, “The House, The Hand, and The Hatchet” by Trine Films.
Tale Teller II, Jaume Plensa, b. 1955 Barcelona, Spain, works in Paris and Barcelona
The south garden by Thales Pond was designed by Hoichi Kurisu to envelope Tale Teller II. The life-sized sculpture is comprised of letters from different languages and is crafted from stainless steel and stone.
Angela and Sanjeev knew they wanted the work for their garden upon first sight. The piece is ideal for the Japanese garden, as Angela explains, “I wanted our tasting room to create a contemplative experience that becomes part of the visitor’s personal story.”
The sculpture was on display in sculpture terrace at Portland Art Museum until the garden was completed. The Chief Curator at the time, Bruce Guenther, called it “a major recent work by Jaume Plensa.”
Plensa, a Catalan sculptor, is considered to be one of the world’s most important artists. Notable works include Chicago’s Crown Fountain, Houston’s Tolerance and Montreal’s Source.
Coded Spectrum, Leo Villareal, b. 1967 Albuquerque, New Mexico, works in New York
The LED installation 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. This work 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 controls the color spectrum in aesthetic balance with deliberate randomness.
Villareal’s works can be seen in museums and public installations throughout the world. He rose to international prominence with San Francisco’s Bay Lights and London’s Illuminated River.
Daisy Bell – mid summer, Jennifer Steinkamp, b.1958 Denver CO, works in Los Angeles
Digital media artist Jennifer Steinkamp’s Daisy Bell features a simulated curtain of falling flowers that bloom in the summer.
The name of the piece derives from the song sung by the 1st simulated voice in Bell Laboratories in 1961. At that time, it could not be imagined that such a voice could ever be seen as threatening. In the movie, 2001 Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke paid homage to the event by having Hal 9000 sing Daisy Bell as Hal loses its memory. Steinkamp’s Daisy Bell concerns the paradox of simulated nature using a beautiful cascade of poisonous flowers.
Steinkamp exhibited large-scale works in 2017 at the Portland Art Museum and 2020 at the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston. Steinkamp’s work is found in museum and private collections throughout the world.
Saffron Fields, The Gathering (Saffron Fields), The Vineyard, and The Pond, Sharon Dowell, b. 1979 North Carolina, works in Charlotte NC
Sharon Dowell is a painter who specializes in works on canvas, murals and public art. Sharon’s works vibrate with the energy of place through use of color and manipulated perspective. These works were commissioned from Sharon and are inspired by photographs taken by Andrea Johnson Photography. The painting provide dynamic views of the hospitality center and the vineyard.
A 2014 TedX Charlotte speaker, she regularly lectures and teaches art workshops. She has completed numerous large scale mural and transit projects for Chicago, Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, and Boulder, CO, and Rock Hill, SC.
Angela, Hannah Maybank, b. Stafford, England; works in London
Hannah Maybank is a British artist discovered by chance at a Royal Academy of Art’s summer exhibition by Sanjeev while on business in London. Later that year, Angela visited the gallery that represents Hannah when she traveled to London for business. Angela describes how she met a lovely young gallerist who was completing her PhD in art, “We spent a couple of hours together looking at works and discussing art. Then, I surprised Sanjeev by buying him a painting Hannah had recently finished based on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in the National Gallery. Sanjeev loved Van Gogh, sunflowers, and the distressed surface of the painting. It was the perfect anniversary present”
Angela is the third work 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.
Taj Mahal at Day Break, Robert Holmes, works in San Francisco
Robert Holmes is one of the world’s most successful and prolific travel photographers. Angela has known Bob for years, as he and his film partner, Andrea Johnson, take photos and produce videos for Saffron Fields. Sanjeev selected this photo from Bob’s portfolio of the Taj Mahal, built in Agra India by the Shah Jahan to entomb his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Bob’s patient eye captures the Taj Mahal in the stillness of the morning haze over the Ganges.
Holmes is the only photographer to be given the Travel Photographer of the Year Award 5 times, most recently for 2017. He is regularly part of an elite group of the world’s 100 best photojournalists invited to participate in the acclaimed “Day in the Life” series. Bob has illustrated over 45 books, including 9 books on wine and 6 cookbooks.