Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Balderson's Innie-Outtie

Innie (Click to Largen)

TodaaAAAaay....we're at the site of the world-renowned Balderson Sculpture. It is sited in a remote corner (NE) of Oregon, USA atop a magnificent mountain on Highway 3 at Flora Junction (34.7 miles N of Enterprise).

Whether you've arrived via the valley of the Grande Ronde River or from Chief Joseph Canyon its beauty adds an almost unbearable level of sublimittude to an incomparable driving experience.

On any given day, several, maybe even six or eight, people view this work through the tinted glass of their vehicle's windows.

Known as The Innie-Outtie, it was among the first produced in COR-TEN steel. When asked, "Why?" Balderson waxed eloquent over the fluidity and patina of Cor-Ten. Then, in a moment of salacious verbosity, admitted a predilection for its "piquancy." (A steel-licker!!).

The Northern "Innie" view (see image above) presents two outward curves that evoke the essence of erotic splendor, beckoning, awaiting hook-up. Oft-cited as an homage to The Vagina Dentata (or is it lock-jaw...you won't get in HERE!), an additional scintillating flush of ambiguity is evinced through the crossworks connecting the labili.

The work is recognized the world over as an ovarial expression of today's androgynous zeitgeist and has been referenced as having influenced artists Richard Serra and the guy who did Where The Wild Things Went, to name only two.

When queried about the acclaim, Balderson kicks her instep and says ,"Aw shucks, 'twarn't nuthin."

Patina!!! (and scale)
Come hither
At the vertex of the angel-wing sweep of the South-facing surface  (outtie) you'll notice a small, crookt, come hither. In personal correspondence with the author (June 3, 2012), Balderson disclosed that this iconic motif was inspired by a denizen of the deep, the Great Woogie Dangler (GWD), a cousin of the anglerfish. The GWD came to light in a 1973 episode of Jacques Cousteau's Undersea Adventures. In it, the GWD is seen dangling its highly evolved appendage (woogie) in front of its gaping maw to attract a meal. Little known at the time, scientists have since proven (ANOTHER use for DNA testing!) that the GWD's appendage is, in fact, the ancestor of today's mammalian (and others') reproductive member. When asked, Balderson, an Undersea Adventures fan, would only say that she felt it "....necessary to add a bit of balance to the Dentata element."

This is a "must see" for ANYone with an interest in sculpture. (Approx 5 miles south of the Washington border and 22.8 miles south of Fields Spring State Park.)


  1. You do have a way with words...making a mountain out of a mole hill... or a sculture out of a snow plow!


  2. Yes, well, as I'm sure you know, the tradition was started by Marcel Duchamp who submitted a urinal for inclusion in an exhibition sponsored by the Society of Independent Artists in 1917. It was rejected, but his term, "ready mades" which he used for manufactured items he repositioned as art, became well-known. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fountain_%28Duchamp%29.

    Glad you enjoyed!!