- by Kelly Skeen
- April 22nd, 2015
Greg Reiche’s site-specific sculptures are more than simple forms of stone, steel and glass placed together for an aesthetic effect. These commissioned works encompass themes and symbolism inspired by anything from the geological history of the site they are made for, to the relationship with the clients who commissioned the piece. Every aspect of the sculpture – the shade and texture of the stone, the curved or intersecting lines of steel, the hand-cut shape of the glass – are all deliberate choices made by the artist based on it’s future environment and the client’s desires.
“A big part of the art for commissioned sculptures is working with the client and finding something that fits them and the site,” says Reiche.
Every site-specific piece is unique, but all commissions follow a similar process, one where Reiche works very closely with the collector. The first step is a detailed conversation between Reiche and the client outlining the goals and desires for the work. The New Mexico sculptor then makes an important site visit, noting everything from the texture of a nearby stone to the style of surrounding architecture. Following this extensive observation is even more extensive research.
“I want to find what stories exist within the site – not just human stories, but environmental and geological stories,” explains Reiche. “I try to keep a very open mind during this phase and not attach myself to any specific ideas or designs. I prefer to let specific design ideas evolve after I have done a thorough investigation.”
Reiche dives into deeper aspects of the site including the history and natural environment, all while keeping the clients artistic tastes in mind. Only after this thorough investigation does Reiche begin to sketch. When the final design is refined, he makes a physical model or “maquette” of the piece to present to the client. A contract is established and finally, Reiche begins to fabricate the piece. The whole process can take anywhere from four to twenty-four months, including the last step of delivery and installment. For a public art commission, the process is lengthened as Reiche works with architects, engineers, city officials, and even community groups that consider and approve the design.
Reiche’s most recent commission is for a couple’s private home in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with the final stages still in process. “The Unspeaking Center” is made of cream-colored Texas limestone, stainless steel, and glass. The primarily stone design was influenced by the rocky outline of the Organ Mountains that overlook the client’s home, while existing architectural structures at the site dictated the choice of the cream-colored limestone. The symmetrical and interconnected design of the piece symbolically speaks to the union of the couple who commissioned it. The maquette as well as Reiche’s sketches for this sculpture will be on display for “Into the Wind,” Reiche’s upcoming show at Pippin Contemporary.
“As an artist, I love to do commissions because it gives me the opportunity to work one on one with my client and get to know them personally,” says Reiche. “It’s a process that takes a little longer and a little more work, but it can be very enriching for myself and the client. In the end, I think everybody ends up with something they’re proud and feel a part of.”
If you are interested in commissioning a site-specific sculpture for a public or private space, please contact the gallery at 505-795-7476, or at email@example.com. The opening reception for “Into the Wind,” Greg’s upcoming show at Pippin Contemporary, will be on Friday, May 22nd from 5-7pm. Click here for more details about this event.
From the artist’s perspective: check out the following video for a closer look at Greg Reiche’s art and inspiration.