A series of contemporary sculptures by Walla Walla artist Squire Broel will be installed for public viewing in the Sylvia Berlin Katzen Sculpture Garden at the American University Museum, Washington, D.C., from April 6-Aug. 11.

Broel said this is the first exhibition of his three-dimensional work in the nation’s capital. 

A selection of his life-size to monumentally-sized totemic bronze sculptures creates space for reflection and contemplation about what it means to be engaged as an individual within community and interact intentionally with the natural world, he said a release. 

In a series of vertically oriented structures, Broel references tangible and intangible notions that resonate universally: botanical and architectural structures, environmental rhythms, physical and emotional solitude.

“The sculptures echo familiar forms found in nature, modernist design, primitive utilitarian objects and art historical traditions. The shapes appear straightforward, yet the surfaces are nuanced, the orientations subtly articulated — much like each of our individual lives,” Broel said. 

Intentional abstraction creates a generous context for engaging with the sculptures. 

Allusions to historical references create a sense of timelessness and familiarity, yet the pieces exist outside the rapidly shifting visual language of stylized contemporary aesthetics.

The sculptural installation exposes viewers to aspects of the American rural West’s untamed spirit, vast rugged landscapes and traditions of mysticism. 

“Having experienced the golden wheat fields offset against the Blue Mountains, I can better understand the great conservationist Justice William O. Douglas’ work to preserve the land and Squire Broel’s totems that rise from it,” said Jack Rasmussen, director and curator at the American University Museum. 

Broel’s intentional decision to live and work in a small agrarian community in the Pacific Northwest provides viewers with a raw vision of inward examinations that relate more to the health of the psyche than to the pop-culture echo chamber. 

The work is a complex fusion of expressions: longing, melancholy, hope and contentment.

In 1999 a traveling exhibition, Outward Bound — American Art at the Brink of the Twenty-First Century, brought Broel’s two-dimensional work to Washington, D.C., where it was included alongside works by Roy Lichtenstein, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Squeak Carnwath and Sam Gilliam. 

Find out more about Broel at squirebroel.com.

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