Surround, 1996. White fir, 9 x 5 x 3 ft.

Lee C. Imonen: Nature, Technology, and Myth

Lee C. Imonen’s recent public sculpture is rich in references to nature, architecture and technology, myth, and the artist’s memories of childhood stories. Broadly cultural as well as personal, Imonen’s sculpture is also art historical, relating not only to 20th-century Modernist practice from Constructivism to di Suvero, but also to the Romantic cult of the ruin. His work, in short, is richly indexical to a wide variety of visual, narrative, and even subliminal texts. Combining the monumental and the personal allows Imonen to transcend the limits of public art as frequently defined. Recent cases in point are two huge and dramatic works completed during the past four years in Oregon. Sampo (2003), on the capitol grounds in Salem, and La Grande Weir (2006), on the campus of Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, are myth-evoking structures made of wood, belted and bolted with metal.