My question concerns the unusual sculptures that can be seen in Talent on the corner of Highway 99 and Arnos Street. My partner and I have driven by almost daily for the past few months and have noticed the large, bronze-colored depictions of humans in various stages of the fetal position, hanging from what appears to be a circular structure of metal and copper in an almost carousel-like formation.
Prior to this sighting were several other large, bronze colored depictions of what looked like various god-like heads. What are these figures made of and what are their purpose? Who is the artist? We assumed that the monstrous sculptures were headed for Burning Man originally, but surely the latest works of art are being created for some other purpose.
— Karen, by email
Well, Karen, the sculpture has attracted a lot of attention, but fortunately not caused any traffic accidents. It's the work of artist Kevin Christman and his crew. They received an honorarium to construct it for this year's Burning Man festival, held Aug. 23 to Sept. 3 in northwest Nevada's Blackrock Desert.
Titled "Tree of Transmutation," a 10-foot-tall wooden pyramid is surrounded by iron work that rises to about twice that height and includes extending arms that support six twice-life-sized female figures in fetal positions made of fiberglass. At Blackrock the figures could be removed to be taken about the playa and when they were returned at evening a light show would occur.
The piece is a continuation of Christman's Transmutation series. The female figures represent a place of nurturing in a safe environment, returning to the womb for transmutation from chrysalis to butterfly, according the artist's statement.
While many saw parts of it outside his studio this summer during creation and asked about it, full assembly didn't take place until the festival. On his return Christman decided to put it up so that locals could see the entire piece. He plans to leave it up through the winter and may take it to other festivals later.
"Every day people stop by. It's pretty amazing," said Christman. A few of his other pieces also are on display at the Talent location.
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