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Critical Juncture/
FLUID BOUNDARY

CHAPTER FOUR...
BRONZE CONSERVATION

Conserving CJ/FB’s bronze relief...

After the steel waterfall was in place and plants cut back to some extent, the bronze relief exhibited its need for conservation because its surface had dulled and blackened. At the same time, the plaza had become a popular place for outdoor functions in Des Moines’ Eastside.

A1 CJ-FB w full steel waterfall.jpg
A2  CJ FB 2008 Greenfall w plants cut back conservation needed.JPG

Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary with full steel waterfall          2008 Greenfall w plants cut back -- conservation needed again!

The first attempt at Conservation of the Bronze relief...

In September 2009 the State of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council engaged conservators from Omaha to do the first conservation work on Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary's bronze relief, but Wyrick was not consulted for her advice.

 

After restoration the bronze looked great! Raised metal surfaces were highlighted by hand polishing, recessed areas were darkened, propane torches heated the metal and hot, pigmented wax applied. All was coated with paste wax to inhibit return of corrosion. In 2021 when Wyrick consulted the company that had done the first conservation work, she learned that they had used conservation practices for indoor bronze sculptures. Unfortunately, the wax process used did not allow for the sculpture’s life in the outdoors that requires coating with Incralac.

C1 CJ FB 9-2009 after Omaha restoration.jpg

2009 Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary

following Omaha Company’s restoration.

Continued conservation needed...

However by at least 2015, that conservation work had failed! 

In 2015 a friend alerted Wyrick to the state of the sculpture and garden. Both were in need of conservation. She sent this photograph to Wyrick showing the blackened sculpture and the overgrown vegetation.

D1  CJ FB 2015_10 Greenfall awaiting second conservation in 2020 (Isabelle photo).jpg

2009 Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary awaiting second conservation

 

2020 Conservation...

In 2021, Wyrick was told that conservators from California were hired to do conservation on all of the Iowa Capitol ground’s metal sculptures over the year. After finding a contact in the government, Wyrick was told that the conservation had already been done in 2020 and she was sent the latest photographs.

E1 CJ-FB 2020 Bronze Conservation  2020 DIPTYCH.jpg

Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary after 2020 Conservation

In early 2022, Wyrick inquired about whether conservation could be done on Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary when she found that the State of Iowa had allocated funds for conservation of all bronzes on the Capitol grounds. She wanted to follow up with them about what they planned to do and what their future plans for maintenance were. However by the time she found a contact, she was told that the work had already been done in 2020!

Critical Juncture/Fluid Boundary’s future...

Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary became an integral part of the plaza that became energized over the years because the Des Moines' Eastside had become very lively with new residents. The revitalized plaza serves as a community hub in Des Moines' trendy East Village neighborhood. Wyrick has stated, “I am gratified knowing that this plaza has become a fully functioning public space.”

F1  CB FB East Village 2011.jpg
F2 CJ FB Gazette 2012 -1.jpg

Addenda...

Wyrick published this statement early into the project:

“OTHER PEOPLE'S IMPRESSION AND INTERPRETATIONS, NOT ONLY THE ARTIST'S, BECOME PART OF ANY ARTWORK'S MEANING.

AND THE MEANING OF AN ARTWORK IS ONE THAT, OVER TIME, CAN SHIFT ITS BOUNDARIES."

- Shirley Wyrick

(She believes you will agree that 2009 Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary  has undergone many shifting boundaries!)

"LOGIC WILL GET YOU FROM A TO B.

IMAGINATION WILL TAKE YOU EVERYWHERE."

- Albert Einstein

 

"ALL OUR KNOWLEDGE HAS ITS ORIGINS

IN OUR PERCEPTIONS."

- Leonardo da Vinci

 

"ART DOES NOT REPRODUCE THE VISIBLE

RATHER IT MAKES VISIBLE."

- Paul Klee

As this project gathered steam, it also gathered a team of people who were essential to its realization and maintenance.  Some of the leaders on the team, in addition to Wyrick, were Steve Kuzynowski, Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS); Monica Fischer, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs; and Rick Seely AIA, of OPN Architects; who were helpful in bringing the vision to life, along with a structural design engineer, a fabricator, a landscape architect, a contractor, and several members of the DAS and Historical Society staffs.  "I deeply appreciate the contributions of each of these members of our` team," Wyrick says.

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