A walking tour of the Valley’s only contemporary sculpture exhibit situated in a surprising, delightful space.
- Written byPauline Adamek
Nestled between two bustling high-rise office buildings in Warner Center, it almost takes you by surprise. There, in the center of Woodland Hills’ financial district, is a completely tranquil and verdant space—an elegant, contemporary sculpture exhibit and garden sanctuary.
Tall pedestals of rough stone, smooth marble, travertine, bronze, steel and raw quartz grace the outdoor exhibit—some even have moving parts. Hand-carved, sandy-hued limestone is shaped to resemble a squat alligator or intricate busts. There are pieces by several master artists including Paul Lindhard and G Ramon Byrne.
Majestically standing at 77 inches, Rude Calderón’s “Introspection” is made from Baja onyx and travertine. “When the sun hits this, it takes on a completely different color. It’s very cool,” curator Jeff Phillips grins.
Now on exhibit: a group show Jeff has wittily dubbed The New Stone Age, featuring works by a sextet of male sculptors, including Duane O’Connor, Andy Lewis and Norman Reddick, as well as Lindhard and Byrne. Some of the stone artworks weigh more than a ton; all of the pieces required heavy machinery to set them in place.
“This one is also cool because it lights up at night,” Jeff says, gesturing toward Paul Lindhard’s basalt and onyx work, amusingly entitled “Lightheaded.”
The sculpture garden is nestled between attractively designed, lush landscapes, a whimsical fountain and a wrought-iron fence depicting the history of the San Fernando Valley in metal shapes. Exhibits rotate every six to eight months.
A one-acre, landscaped retreat, Plaza Garden is the Valley’s only outdoor sculpture exhibition space. It fills a void; there are no fine arts museums in the San Fernando or San Gabriel Valleys—an oversight Jeff wants to remedy. Eleven years ago he established this sculpture plaza as the first museum-quality, large-scale sculptural exhibition site in the region. He tells us that property management permanently installed eight cement pads and lighting; the artists lend their work for display, and Jeff donates his time.
Viewing it as “cultural philanthropy,” he hopes the exhibit will help bring more contemporary sculpture to the Valley—ultimately sparking an initiative to create a museum here.
Sculpture at the Plaza GardensFarmers Plaza, 6301 Owensmouth Avenue, Woodland Hills Street park and walk directly onto the plaza or drive through the gate on Owensmouth and pay a nominal parking fee.
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