Bainbridge Island Review


Sculpture fuses inanimate, animate: Bainbridge artist honored posthumously

Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
August 4, 2013 · 10:15 AM

Whipple’s 1986 piece, “Vivian,” created with epoxy-lacquered wood, offers a seat to viewers. / Photo courtesy of Andrew Whipple

Seattle University’s Kinsey Gallery is honoring sculptor and Bainbridge High School 1958 alumn, Sara Whipple, posthumously, with a solo show of her work in bronze and wood.

The show will be open through September and will exhibit pieces from her well-known furniture series.

Whipple graduated from Seattle University in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in sculpture art.

Over the years she has made a name for herself.

In bronze, she won several awards and appeared alongside other notable Northwest sculptors in galleries like the Henry Gallery and the Seattle Art Museum.

Whipple’s prominence, however, came after 1984, when she began teaching herself woodworking in an effort to combine her sculpting with a life-long interest in architecture and furniture design.

Whipple’s “Chair” series has since then become widely known for symbolically connecting the lines between functional and spiritual, the animate and the inanimate.

“As sculpture they serve as metaphors for the interconnectedness and interdependence between the human person and all things, animate and not,” her artist’s statement explains.

Each sculpture is constructed to emulate the curves and physical nature of a human, while, at the same time, it provides a literal seat.

With her pieces like “Gaia,” “Dance to Damascus,” and “Vivian,” Whipple invites the viewer to sit, be comforted and supported by the form of a woman.

“’Chairs’ also invites the viewer to consider his or her own relationship to the world,” the statement continues. “And suggests that the more complete one’s understanding and synthesis of these intrinsic relationships, the more substantial, responsible and ‘whole’ is one’s own humanity.”

With the “Chair” series and subsequent projects, Whipple has received “Critic’s Choice” recognition by the Seattle Times and has been featured in Changing Homes magazine, the Bellevue American, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Bellingham Herald.

Her work of more than 200 pieces in bronze, wood and recycled materials has been shown in galleries in California, Oregon, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The Kinsey Gallery will feature pieces from her “Chair” series as well as pieces from her “Etruscan,” “Communion” and “Vanities & Other Conceits” series which all take an interconnected perspective in the form of furniture.

The exhibition will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until Sept. 13 at the Seattle University Kinsey Gallery located in the Admission Alumni Building.


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