Workers this week began installing Brea’s newest piece of public art, “Oasis.” Worth around $2.5 million, it may be the most expensive piece of public art in the county.
Artist Douglas Hollis said he liked to describe the work more as a public space than a traditional sculpture. ‘Oasis’ will be located at the corner of the Imperial Highway and Valencia Avenue, the future crown jewel of the new La Floresta Shopping Center Village.
It features aluminum quills on a crescent-shaped seating area. The quills are lit from below and wave in the wind.
“It’s more about creating a space that people can be in…it’s a multi-sensory and experiential thing,” said San Francisco resident Hollis.
The quills add a kinetic element, meant to recall grasshopper oil pumps. Hollis, 67, says they also hint at other forms of energy.
“It’s kind of a poetic suggestion of a new kind of energy that should be employed,” he said. “They also amusingly mimic the oil pumps that still proliferate in this area.”
Hollis is prolific in the art of public spaces, with at least 30 works worldwide.
Perhaps his best known is “A Sound Garden,” a dozen steel towers with organ pipes that emit sounds as the wind passes through them at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which overlooks Lake Washington in Seattle. 90s grunge band Soundgarden take their name from the piece.
Having worked on “Oasis” for about a decade, Hollis said it was exciting for him to see it come to fruition.
But it’s also bittersweet, because the other artist who worked on the piece won’t see it finished.
For about 15 years, Hollis and his wife, Anna Valentina Murch, worked together on public art, such as “Once Upon a Time” in Fresno and their latest, an installation on a bridge in Portland. Murch died last year after a long illness.
“It was wonderful,” he said of their working relationship.
“People don’t believe it – we never had a fight,” he said. “She had strong opinions and so did I, but we learned to dance. I haven’t always led.
The city requires any development over $1.5 million to spend 1% of the total value on public art. Instead of making multiple rooms, Chevron officials decided to combine the funds into one room and place them in the La Floresta shopping center, just steps from the more than 1,000 residential units in the offshore development. imperial highway and avenue de Valence.
The coin is the most expensive and largest in the city’s portfolio of more than 150 coins, city staff said.
“Oasis” was one of the main reasons the center attracted tenants such as Whole Foods and Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, according to the center’s owners, Regency Centers.
“Having this kinetic art piece – it’s huge, it’s lit up at night – it’s something so different that no other center can offer, because it’s one of a kind,” said previously said John Mehigan, vice president of investments at Regency Centers. .
Seattle-based Fabrication Specialties has built the artwork’s components and is installing them over the next two weeks at the center.
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